(HealthDay News) – For adults, regular use of aspirin 10 years prior to retinal examination is associated with increased incidence of late and neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a study published in the Dec. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Barbara E.K. Klein, MD, MPH, from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, and colleagues examined the association between aspirin use and AMD in a longitudinal population study. Examinations were performed every five years over a 20-year period for 4,926 participants, aged 43–86 years at baseline.

Over a median follow-up of 14.8 years, the researchers identified 512 incident cases of early AMD and 117 incident cases of late AMD. The estimated incidence of late AMD was 1.76% for regular users of aspirin 10 years prior to retinal examination and 1.03% for nonusers (hazard ratio, 1.63; P=0.05). Regular aspirin use 10 years before retinal examination correlated significantly with neovascular AMD (hazard ratio, 2.2) but not with pure geographic atrophy. There was no correlation for aspirin use at five or 10 years before retinal examination and early AMD.

“Our findings are consistent with a small but statistically significant association between regular aspirin use and incidence of neovascular AMD,” the authors write. “If confirmed, defining the causal mechanisms may be important in developing methods to block this effect to prevent or retard the development of neovascular AMD in persons who use aspirin, especially to prevent cardiovascular disease.”

One author disclosed financial ties to Pfizer.

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