Q: With the growing popularity of daily low-dose aspirin therapy, I wonder if there is a link between aspirin and increased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?
Answer : Despite several unreferenced articles linking aspirin to AMD, Allen Taylor, PhD, director of Tufts’ HNRCA Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research, says, “I am unaware of established opinions, substantiated by multiple scientific publications, that aspirin enhances risk for AMD.” Indeed, in a large 2009 study published in the journal Ophthalmology, researchers concluded, “Low-dose aspirin had no large beneficial or harmful effect on risk of AMD.” That study of 39,876 healthy female health professionals, age 45 and older, compared 100 milligrams of aspirin every other day against a placebo. Over 10 years of follow-up, the aspirin group saw 111 cases of AMD and the placebo group had 134 cases.
More caution may be called for, however, in patients already suffering from AMD, which is the leading cause of vision loss among older Americans. A 2010 study published in the journal Retina looked at 195 AMD patients over about six years. Those taking aspirin, as well as those on the medications warfarin and clopidogrel, were significantly more likely to experience bleeding inside the eye (intraocular hemorrhage).