Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Lesser of Two Evils

This week everyone’s been discussing a new study in the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal and its findings that regular aspirin use may increase a risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common eye disease that is prevalent in people over the age of 50 and effects the central part of the retina causing blurry vision and possibly blind spots.

Aspirin, a common pain reliever is also known for being a life-saving drug in the event of a heart attack, which is why most people would take the drug regularly. This link between aspirin and AMD has sparked a controversy because some organizations, like Macular Society, want to warn people who have been prescribed aspirin to continue using it despite these findings. Macular Society, amongst others, says that the risks of not taking the drug are actually much higher than the risk of AMD. 

The study was conducted by researchers at The University of Sydney. There were 2,389 participants, of which 257 took aspirin regularly. After tracking these participants over 15 years, 24.5% were found to have developed AMD. 

As this discussion continues, we can only try and educate people so that they know that 1.)  they should not stop taking their prescribed aspirin, and 2.) they should get a regular eye exam in order to diagnose common eye disease like AMD, glaucoma and cataracts early on in order to minimize the damage done to their sight. 

Sometimes you just have to pick the lesser of two evils. 

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