An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but daily doses of aspirin could lead to late stage macular degeneration, according to a new study published in Ophtalmology. Aspirin could double the risk of developing loss of vision for seniors, many of whom take regular doses for both pain relief and heart disease. Researchers found that the drug’s exacerbation of macular degeneration was not related to early stages of the condition, and only to the wet form, not the dry form.
“For people who have age-related macular degeneration, it probably isn’t wise to recommend taking aspirin,” said William Christen of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. Dr. Paulus de Jong at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience and Academic Medical Center, who led the study, told Reuters that the benefits of the drug for those with cardiovascular disease outweigh the potential negative effects related to vision, however.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of blindness for Americans over the age of 60. There are things that you can do to help preserve your vision. Some ways to maintain eye health include:
- See an ophthalmologist regularly, not just for eyeglass prescriptions, but to find any hidden eye diseases. After age 50, an exam is recommended at least every two years.
- Pay attention to your diet. Get a daily recommended dosage of eight to 10 milligrams of Zeaxanthin, which is found in vegetables like corn and peppers, as well as kale and spinach, and other dark greens. Supplementation may be necessary to reach the full dosage. Carrots, which contain beta carotene that converts to Vitamin A, help with night vision.
- Exercise regularly and, if able, vigorously. According to studies by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, running reduced the risk of both cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
- Stop smoking or don’t start. Smoking has also been directly linked to macular degeneration as well as cataracts. Researchers also believe that smoking could be related to other eye health issues.
- Wear protective gear when in the sun, such as sunglasses and hats with visors.
As Nicholas Bakalar, a contributor to The New York Times reminds us,
Reading in poor light, sitting too close to the TV, wearing the wrong prescription glasses and crossing your eyes — things your mother warned you would ruin your vision — are actually generally harmless. But a truly dangerous false belief is that there is nothing you can do to prevent the loss of vision.
On the other hand, if you are already experiencing vision loss, there are affordable options to make everyday tasks easier and more comfortable. Some of the Vision Solutions that firstSTREET sells include High-Powered Reading Glasses with up to +6.0 power, a high-contrast computer keyboard with enlarged letters and numbers, and a Lighted Full Page Magnifier, a floor lamp that provides hands-free, glare-free magnification with Balanced Spectrum light.