What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular Degeneration is an eye disorder that can cause severe vision loss in people aged 60 and over. The most severe cases can even cause blindness. The disease occurs when the portion of the retina known as the macula begins to degenerate. This causes people to lose the ability to sense light, which in turn leads to vision distortion and degradation.
There are two forms of the disease, the dry and the wet forms. The dry form occurs when small deposits form on the macula. These deposits will lead to visual distortion, and can cause blind spots, however most patients with the dry type do not go completely blind. The wet form causes blood vessels to choroid on the macular and then leak blood and fluids. This leaked fluid and blood leads to distorted, wavy line vision which can lead to permanent vision loss.
Macular degeneration usually occurs in aging people as opposed to younger people, but it can sneak up on you even when you aren’t expecting it. And, even scarier, it has now been linked to a simple over-the-counter pain reliever.
Aspirin and Macular Degeneration
Recently, researchers found that taking aspirin on a regular basis can cause an increased risk in developing the wet form of macular degeneration. Studies have been conducted around the world to determine if this link is accurate. One of the studies was conducted in Australia, and involved 2000 participants.
During the study the participants’ diet, lifestyle habits and medication uses were determined. Twenty five percent of the participants took aspirin regularly. Each participant had a regular eye exam to look at their retinas. Fifteen years after the study began, it was found that 15 of the participants who regularly took aspirin developed the wet form of macular degeneration. The researchers found that regular aspirin users increased their risk two-fold of getting macular degeneration over those who did not take aspirin regularly.
This Australian study did not prove that aspirin would cause the wet form of macular degeneration; however it did correlate the two variables together. More studies are needed to determine what exactly aspirin’s role in the eye is, and how taking aspirin affects the risk of getting macular degeneration.
Taking Aspirin Safely
If you take aspirin on a daily or weekly basis, then you might be wondering if you should stop. You don’t have to necessarily stop your aspirin regimen, and shouldn’t without talking to your regular doctor, however you can follow a few of these tips to take your pills safely:
- See your eye doctor regularly if you are on an aspirin regimen and over the age of 60. Your risk of developing macular degeneration increases as you age, so it is important to visit your optometrist often to catch the disease early if you do develop it.
- Talk to your general practitioner if your family has a history of macular degeneration. If you do have a family history, then your doctor might think twice about putting you on an aspirin regimen.
- If you notice any changes in your vision, especially if you start seeing wavy lines everywhere, than call your eye doctor immediately. Wavy line vision is the number one symptom of wet macular degeneration.
Above all, don’t stop taking aspirin if your doctor has prescribed an aspirin regimen for you. The studies that have been conducted have only shown a slight increased risk in developing the disease, so the benefits of taking aspirin could outweigh this risk. Talk with your physicians and your optometrist about your worries about developing macular degeneration and decide with them what is your best option.
Your eyes are comprised mainly of muscle tissue that need to be taken care of just like the rest of your body. That means eating a healthy diet full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Even if you have been diagnosed with an eye disorder such as macular degeneration, you may still be able to strengthen your eyes in order to halt the progression of the disease. There are many different vitamins that have eye strengthening and vision enhancing powers, and our Ocu-Plus Formula combines the best ones to get you started on the path to healthy vision.