Aspirin may be tied to age-related macular degeneration, researchers find

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Those who take aspirin regularly may be in danger of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), researchers in Australia have found.

The researchers followed nearly 2,400 study participants for a decade and a half. After 15 years, 3.7% of the study participants who did not take aspirin regularly had developed neovascular AMD, a severe form of macular degeneration. Among those identified as regular aspirin users, more than double that number – 9.3%– were diagnosed with AMD.

Regular aspirin use was defined as taking the drug at least once a week over the course of a year, researchers said.

While the study results were striking, it's not believed it will change clinical best practices yet. However, “thoughtful clinicians” may want to consider the study results, doctors from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles said in an invited commentary. Previous studies have also linked aspirin usage to macular degeneration.

The results appear in the online edition of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

The findings were published within days of a proposal from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to expand Medicare coverage for certain forms of AMD. Under the proposal, optical coherence tomography would be covered as a method for assessing treatment response. 

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