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All too many times overwhelmed caregivers are physically and emotionally depleted and need to take time to rest and care for themselves. Believing in a holistic approach to caregiver stress and a strong commitment to helping our members find the right solutions, we created this blog to help you connect with others who, like you, may be facing the same eldercare issues and challenges. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and submit articles. Please forward the blog link to your family and friends. They'll be glad you did.

Warm regards,

Patricia Grace
founder & CEO
Aging with Grace

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Is there a connection between aspirin and macular degeneration?

A new study suggests that daily aspirin use among seniors may double their risk of developing a particularly advanced form of age-related macular degeneration, a debilitating eye disease.

The possible link involves the so-called "wet" type of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a significant cause of blindness in seniors.

Aspirin use was not, however, found to be associated with an increased risk for developing the more common, and usually less advanced, "dry" form of AMD, according to the report published in the January issue of Ophthalmology.

Age-related macular degeneration affects the critical central vision required for reading, driving and general mobility. The damage occurs when the retinal core of the eye (the macula) becomes exposed to leaking or bleeding due to abnormal growth of blood vessels.

While the study uncovered an association between aspirin use and AMD, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

This point was also made by Dr. Alfred Sommer, a professor of ophthalmology and dean emeritus at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He noted that while the study was "well executed," it should not be seen as definitive proof that aspirin use and AMD are linked.

"It is well known that aspirin [and other NSAIDs] can increase the risk of gastric distress and gastric ulcers," Sommer said. "Like any medicine, it should only be taken if needed. But those taking aspirin to prevent heart disease, particularly those at increased risk of heart disease, definitely do benefit and should not change what they do."

For more on age-related macular degeneration, visit the U.S. National Eye Institute

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