Aspirin’s benefits outweigh supposed eye risks

Aspirin constantly gets a bad rep in the press. Lately, I came across some chatter about aspirin worsening age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the No. 1 cause of vision loss in men and women over age 60.

I can only assume the bad press has to do with big pharma and their mainstream minions wanting you to stop taking a safe, affordable, available, and effective drug. And substitute a new, more expensive drug.

But don’t fall for it.

Aspirin is a natural pain-reliever that’s been around a lot longer than the FDA or big pharma. It relieves pain, reduces inflammation, and lowers fever. As a “side effect,” it also reduces the risk of colon cancer and other cancers–as well as cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and vascular stroke.

Plus, compared to other over-the-counter pain relievers, good, old aspirin looks better and better…

In fact, as I explained earlier this month, new evidence links non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen with increased strokes due to intracranial bleeding. They also increase your risk of gastro-intestinal bleeding.

And how about Tylenol (acetaminophen), the supposed aspirin “substitute”?

As I always say, never take Tylenol for anything. Ever. Period.

It’s the No. 1 cause of liver failure in the United States. And it has a growing list of other suspected risks that result in early death. Plus, one researcher links Tylenol use before vaccinations with autism spectrum disorders. Lastly, Tylenol doesn’t even work for back, neck, or shoulder pain, according to recent research. The FDA should put this so-called pain-reliever out of its misery, permanently.

But, instead, the attacks on aspirin continue.

Fortunately, Dr. Kent Small didn’t buy into the propaganda. He got worried when he realized his patients were reacting to media reports of studies linking aspirin to macular degeneration. They were taking themselves off aspirin without any discussion with their primary care doctors or their eye specialists.

Dr. Small undertook a literature review and found 197 studies on aspirin and heart disease with a total of 167,582 participants. He also reviewed four studies on aspirin and eye disease involving 13,175 participants.

He found strong evidence that aspirin reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease and no evidence it increased eye disease. In fact, two large studies showed ARMD risk actually declined with concurrent aspirin use.

In the first study, the Physicians Health Study, researchers linked aspirin use with an improvement in ARMD. This large, well-done, long-term study has been a treasure trove of important health findings that stand the test of time. It found people who take aspirin are also less likely to develop macular degeneration of the eye.

The Physicians Health Study looks at the “big picture” regarding health. It doesn’t just focus down on a specific condition to the exclusion of others. Plus, this study first found daily, low-dose aspirin use lowers heart disease risk. And despite the mainstream attacks, no study to date has ever disproven these benefits.

A previous meta-analysis also demonstrated that aspirin reduces stroke mortality by 25 percent. It reduces cardiovascular mortality by 15 percent. And best of all, it reduces overall mortality by 10 percent.

On the other hand, it remains “totally unproven” that stopping or reducing your dosage of aspirin will help with eye disease. But taking aspirin does reduce heart attack risk, colon cancer risk, and overall mortality. Plus, it’s still good for a headache!


“Aspirin Benefits Outweigh Risks in Macular Degeneration,” Medscape ( 7/13/2015

“Aspirin in the primary and secondary prevention of vascular disease: collaborative meta-analysis of individual participant data from randomised trials,” Lancet 2009: 373: 1849-1860