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Telegraph Report Causes Fears About Aspirin & Macular Degeneration

Tuesday 5 February 2013, 13:08
By Sarah Gibson

Sarah Gibson, Wincanton optometristA recent report in The Telegraph has prompted a number of people to ask about the risks to their eyes when taking Aspirin.

I felt it appropriate to disseminate the advice from the Macular Society and to add my own thoughts on the matter. For those of you who have not read the original article, it concerned an Australian study which concluded that people taking a regular low dose Aspirin were more at risk of developing a sight threatening eye disease called wet macular degeneration.

For my part I would like to reassure people that you won't develop wet ARMD without first developing the earlier signs of dry ARMD, and these signs will be detected by your optometrist at your regular eye examination.

There are also other significant risk factors for wet AMD, such as smoking, poor diet and excessive UV exposure which increase your risk of the disease. These are the ones that you CAN do something about, with the added benefit of improving your general health at the same time.

Helen Jackman, Chief Executive of the Macula Society is quoted as saying,

"For patients with cardiovascular disease who are taking aspirin, the risk of heart attack is higher than the risk of developing wet AMD. We urge patients not to stop taking prescribed aspirin without speaking to their doctors. In addition there are treatments for wet AMD as long as it is diagnosed in time."

She went on to add that "Specialists that we have consulted say that the link between aspirin and wet AMD is accumulating but is not overwhelming".

Regular eye examinations, which should form an important part of everyone's health care, will allow your optometrist to detect any early signs of the disease process, often long before you notice any symptoms. You can then discuss the risk factors and make a sensible and informed decision about any changes you need to consider in your lifestyle and medication. By regular eye examination I mean at least every two years, or every year if you are over 70 or in a high risk category.

In short - don't panic and please don't make any rash decisions which could affect your general health just because of something you have read in a newspaper.

If you are worried about your eyes, do make an appointment with your usual optician. Remember, they are there to help you to look after your eyes.

Sarah Gibson Optometrist logoSarah Gibson BSc. MCOptom
Senior Optometrist at Sarah Gibson Optometrist
Commerce House, Market Place
Somerset BA9 9LP

Contact me on 01963 34333 for more information or visit our website.


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