A familiar drug gives surprising hope against diabetic blindness

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Aspirin may help prevent diabetic retinopathy

A common complication of diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to blindness. Diabetic retinopathy is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. This form of retinopathy has long been suspected of being the result of tiny blood clots in the capillaries of the eye that lead to blockages in blood circulation which, in turn, result in tissue damage and eventually cell death. Now Harvard researchers working at the Schepens Eye Research Institute have lent considerable support to this hypothesis, and provided an explanation for previous reports that aspirin could increase retinal blood flow in diabetic patients.