Poppers may cause serious and permanent eye damage, new research suggests.
The popular legal high party drug can have ‘serious affects’ on central vision, researchers say.
Poppers offer a short high with sexual arousal and the relaxation of muscles, with alkyl nitrites are used by an estimated one-third of gay and bi men.
But in 2006, a key ingredient, isobutyl nitrite was classified as a cancer-causing agent and replaced with isopropyl nitrite.
This replacement ingredient is believed to damage the fovea, the portion of the retina responsible for central vision.
Poppers are commonly sold as 'room aromas'Poppers are commonly sold as ‘room aromas’
Lead researcher, Dr Rebecca Rewbury said: ‘The mounting body of evidence [suggests] that poppers can have serious effects on central vision.
‘[U]sers and health care professionals may be unaware of the risk,’ she also said.
The study profiled twelve men who reported vision problems like blurriness or blind spots after taking the party drug.
Researchers studied the brands of poppers the men were using and deduced isobutyl nitrite was the cause of the eye damage.
Most of the subjects in the study recovered fully after the incidents.
The study said: ‘poppers cause rapid widespread dilation of blood vessels,’ which results in the ‘rush’ users like.
It also said: ‘the level of harm associated with poppers should be reassessed.’