Regular aspirin use linked to wet AMD

The news on aspirin just keeps getting worse.

Hot on the heels of a study I just told you about that finds -- again -- that regular aspirin use can lead to blindness, a second new study puts some numbers on that risk.

And if you're taking aspirin yourself right now, you might want to sit down for this one.

Yeah, it's that bad.

The study of 2,400 Australians finds that regular aspirin use -- forget once a day, we're talking even once a week here -- can TRIPLE the risk of wet age-related macular degeneration.

Wet AMD is the more serious of the two forms of the disease. It is more severe, more likely to lead to blindness, and -- more importantly -- it is incurable.

It's also the rarer form of AMD, at least among people who don't take aspirin. In the new study, just 3.7 percent of those who used the drug only occasionally went on to develop it.

But for people who took the drug once a week or more, that risk shot up. Nearly 10 percent of them became wet AMD patients, according to the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

On the plus side, think of the bonanza for eye doctors here. Aspirin could be their own version of an economic stimulus program.

Maybe they're the ones really funding all the "wonder drug" commercials and still trying to convince docs to recommend daily aspirin use to all their patients. But unless you're planning to spend some time with an ophthalmologist yourself, do yourself a favor and skip the aspirin.

There isn't much reason to take it anyway.

Supposedly, aspirin use can prevent the clots that lead to heart attack and stroke -- but in some patients, they can actually CAUSE those clots. And other studies have shown that any small benefit is more than offset by the risks, including the risk of severe internal bleeding, bleeding ulcers, and bleeding in the brain.

Who needs it?

If you want to protect the heart and thin your blood at the same time, stick to fish oil instead.