Microsoft word - aspirin linked to amd.doc

EMBARGOED UNTIL 21:00 GMT 21 January 2013

21 January 2013
Warning over Aspirin link to
increased risk of AMD

A leading sight loss charity is warning patients with heart disease not to stop taking
prescribed Aspirin even though a new study has linked it with a serious eye condition.
A new study suggests that Aspirin may increase the risk of developing wet age-related
macular degeneration (wet AMD). However the Macular Society says that, for patients
at risk of heart attacks, the dangers of stopping or not taking aspirin are much higher.
The study of 2389 participants in Australia was conducted by Dr Gerald Liew and
colleagues. They monitored people over a 15 year period, finding a 2.5 fold greater risk
of incident of AMD with regular low-dose aspirin use.
Age-related macular degeneration affects the central vision and is the most common
cause of sight loss in the UK. More people are affected as our society ages.
Helen Jackman, Chief Executive of the Macular Society said: “We understand that
patients will be concerned and they should discuss the risks with their doctors.
Specialists we’ve consulted say that the evidence of a link between Aspirin and wet
AMD is accumulating but it is not overwhelming. For patients with cardio-vascular
disease who are taking Aspirin, the risk of heart attack is higher than the risk of
developing wet AMD. In addition, there are treatments for wet AMD as long as it is
diagnosed in time.
“However, patients with wet AMD in one eye should have their other eye carefully
monitored so that any sign of wet AMD can be found quickly.
“We urge patients not to stop taking prescribed Aspirin without speaking to their
For information, advice or support concerning macular disease, contact the
Macular Society’s Helpline on 0300 3030 111 or email

Notes to Editors:

1) Macular disease causes a loss of central vision. The macula (correct) is the central
and most sensitive part of the retina. People with advanced macular disease cannot
read, drive or recognise faces. Half of all people in the UK registered as sight impaired
or severely sight impaired have macular disease.
2) The Macular Society is the national charity for anyone affected by central vision loss.
Our 15,000 members make us the biggest patient group in the sight loss sector and the
voice of people with macular conditions. We provide free information and support to
improve lives and ensure no one has to face macular disease alone. We have more
than 250 Macular Society support group around the UK and beyond. We fund research
so that one day we can overcome macular disease.
For more information on this press release contact Cathy Yelf, Head of External
Relations, Macular Society on 01264 321976 or 07775 683 452


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