An aspirin a day won't do much for your heart, but it can do plenty for your eyes -- and not in a good way.
The latest research finds that the painkiller-a-day advice pushed by decades of TV commercials -- not to mention docs across the country -- could double your risk of battling the leading cause of blindness in seniors.
Dutch researchers looked at data on some 4,700 seniors across Europe and found that 4 percent of daily aspirin users suffered late-stage wet advanced macular degeneration, versus 2 percent of those who didn't take the pills.
The researchers didn't find a link to the dry form of the disease or the earlier stages of it -- but I don't think the 1.6 million American seniors losing their vision to AMD care much: If cutting down on aspirin is a way to avoid the worst of the worst, then be sure to cut down on the aspirin.
But that's not the advice you'll get from the mainstream. In fact, the researchers behind the study claim the risk of vision loss is perfectly fine next to the supposed benefits of daily aspirin.
"A healthy eye with full visual capacities is of no use in a dead body," one of the researchers told Reuters.
Just one little problem here: The idea that aspirin saves lives is a lot of made-for-TV-commercials marketing hype -- not a scientific reality.
One study I told you about last year looked at 3,350 men and women at high risk of heart disease who were given either a placebo or a daily aspirin, and found absolutely no difference in the rate of heart attacks, stroke, angina or even revascularization surgery.
Another study, a review of six other studies, found only a tiny reduction in heart attacks among patients taking aspirin for primary prevention -- but a huge leap in the number of side effects such as serious internal bleeding issues.
If vision loss, internal bleeding and ulcers aren't enough risk, one study even found that daily aspirin use could cause you to lose one of your other senses, too: Researchers say men between the ages of 45 and 50 who take daily aspirin have a higher risk of hearing loss.
Aspirin has also been linked to tiny "microbleeds" in the brain, tinnitus, allergic reactions, erection problems and more -- but that doesn't mean you can't lower your risk of a heart attack with a single pill every day.
Just make sure that pill contains fish oil instead of painkillers.