I ran across this article about the use of daily aspirin and possible vision problems with the elderly. If you or a family member is older and taking a daily aspirin, you may want to contact your eye doctor about this new study.
Daily aspirin tied to risk of vision loss
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Seniors who take aspirin daily are twice as likely to have late stage macular degeneration, an age-related loss of vision, than people who never take the pain reliever, a new European study reports.
The data do not show that aspirin causes vision loss. But the findings are of concern if aspirin somehow exacerbates the eye disorder, researchers say, given how many seniors take it daily for heart disease.
“For people who have age-related macular degeneration, it probably isn’t wise to recommend taking aspirin,” said William Christen of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who was not involved in this study.
Researchers led by Dr. Paulus de Jong at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience and Academic Medical Center collected health and lifestyle information from nearly 4,700 people over age 65.
The study, published in the journal Ophthalmology, included Norwegian, Estonian, British, French, Italian, Greek and Spanish seniors.
Of the 839 people who took aspirin each day, 36 had an advanced form of the disease called wet macular degeneration.
This equates to about four out of every 100 daily aspirin users.
In comparison, roughly two out of every 100 people who took aspirin less frequently had the same type of macular degeneration.
The wet form of the eye condition, caused by leaking blood vessels in the eye, leads to vision loss in the center of the eye’s field of vision.
The dry form of macular degeneration is more common and less severe, although people still suffer visual impairment.
Together, wet and dry macular degeneration make up the leading causes of vision loss among people over age 60, afflicting millions of Americans.
The researchers found that aspirin use was not tied to the dry form, nor to earlier stages of the disease.
“I don’t think that’s surprising,” Christen told Reuters Health. “I think the effects of aspirin may be different in the early stages of age-related macular degeneration than in the late stages.”
Aspirin is often taken to prevent cardiovascular disease, and Paulus told Reuters Health there has been controversy over the link between cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration.
Paulus wrote in an email that his team “analyzed as meticulously as possible” whether cardiovascular disease might have influenced the results, and still found that aspirin users — regardless of their heart health — are at a greater risk of the more serious type of vision loss.
While it’s a good idea to caution people that aspirin might have a deleterious role in macular degeneration, “a healthy eye with full visual capacities is of no use in a dead body,” Paulus said.
In other words, for people with cardiovascular disease who take aspirin to prevent the condition from worsening, the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks to visual health.
In a prior blog Omega-3 Fats were discussed in relation to lowering inflamation that causes heart disease, decreasing blood pressure and reducing triglyceride levels. The following article discusses way to lower the risk of vision loss in old age and Omega-3 Fat came up again. Studies keep showing that healthy eating does make a difference in our future health. Please enjoy.
By Kerry Grens Kerry Grens– 1 hr 36 mins ago
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – For
people at a higher risk of losing central vision as they age, eating sufficient
levels of certain dietary nutrients could help protect their eyes.
A new study finds that among people
with a genetic susceptibility to macular degeneration — vision loss caused by
erosion of the retina – those who ate higher levels of zinc, antioxidants or
omega-3 fatty acids cut their risk of developing the disease by as much as a
third compared with those who ate lower levels of the nutrients.
“Therefore, clinicians should
provide dietary advice to young susceptible individuals to postpone or prevent
the vision-disabling consequences of (age-related macular degeneration),”
the researchers wrote in the journal Archives of Ophthalmology.
Age-related macular degeneration is
common, accounting for half of all cases of blindness in developed countries,
In the United States, the condition
occurs in more than six out of every 100 adults over age 40.
Though patients can be treated with
medications and surgery, none of these cures the disease.
At least two gene variations are
known to raise a person’s risk for developing the condition compared to the
general population. One of the variations (called CFH) increases a person’s
odds of macular degeneration up to 11-fold and another (called LOC387715S)
raises them by up to 15-fold.
To see whether these especially
susceptible people might reduce their risk, the researchers, based in the
Netherlands, surveyed the eating habits of more than 2,000 participants over
the age of 55. All were tested for the macular degeneration susceptibility
All the participants also had eye
exams every three years for the next decade to determine who suffered vision
Among people with the CFH variation,
greater amounts of either zinc, beta carotene, omega-3 fatty acids or
lutein/zeaxanthin in the diet was linked to a smaller risk of macular
For instance, 39 out of every 100
people who ate the lowest amounts of omega-3 fats (about 22 milligrams per day)
developed vision loss, whereas 28 out of every 100 people who ate the largest
amounts of omega-3s (268 mg per day) had vision loss.
For those who had the LOC387715S
variation, reduced risk of vision loss was seen among people who ate greater
amounts of zinc or omega-3 fats.
In their case, for example, 25
percent of people who ate 11.85 mg per day of zinc developed macular
degeneration, compared to 33 percent of people who ate just 7.5 mg per day.
“To achieve this benefit, it
does not appear necessary to consume excessive amounts of these nutrients; the
recommended dietary allowance will suffice,” the authors note.
The recommended dietary allowance in
the U.S. for zinc is 11 milligrams daily for men and 8 milligrams for women.
Men are recommended to consume at least 1.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids a day,
and women 1.1 grams.
Good sources for zinc include
oysters, red meat, nuts and beans. Oily fish are some of the best food sources
for omega-3 fats, while beta carotene is found in carrots, sweet potatoes and
other vegetables and fruits.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are abundant
in eggs and green leafy vegetables.
The authors did not work out whether
or how these nutrients are responsible for the prevention of macular
SOURCE: http://bit.ly/j212YY Archives
of Ophthalmology, June 2011.