Objective To determine whether regular aspirin use is associated with a higher risk for developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by using analyzed data from a 15-year prospective cohort.
Methods A prospective analysis was conducted of data from an Australian population-based cohort with 4 examinations during a 15-year period (1992-1994 to 2007-2009). Participants completed a detailed questionnaire at baseline assessing aspirin use, cardiovascular disease status, and AMD risk factors. Age-related macular degeneration was graded side-by-side from retinal photographs taken at each study visit to assess the incidence of neovascular (wet) AMD and geographic atrophy (dry AMD) according to the international AMD classification.
Results Of 2389 baseline participants with follow-up data available, 257 individuals (10.8%) were regular aspirin users and 63 of the 2389 developed neovascular AMD. Persons who were regular aspirin users were more likely to have incident neovascular AMD: the 15-year cumulative incidence was 9.3% in users and 3.7% in nonusers. After adjustment for age, sex, smoking, history of cardiovascular disease, systolic blood pressure, and body mass index, persons who were regular aspirin users had a higher risk of developing neovascular AMD (odds ratio [OR], 2.46; 95% CI, 1.25-4.83). The association showed a dose-response effect (multivariate-adjusted P = .01 for trend). Aspirin use was not associated with the incidence of geographic atrophy (multivariate-adjusted OR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.59-1.65).
Conclusion Regular aspirin use is associated with increased risk of incident neovascular AMD, independent of a history of cardiovascular disease and smoking.