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Poppers may cause permanent eye damage, new research finds

Poppers may cause permanent eye damage, new research finds

Poppers may cause permanent eye damage

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.’

UK tries to ban poppers

Last year, the UK tried to ban poppers in the country, but changed their minds after new information.

British politicians voted to approve a ban on ‘legal highs’ in January, with the it set to become the law on 6 April.

However, Theresa May conceded a review of poppers would happen before the law came into effect.

In a drastic u-turn, Home Office minister Karen Bradley said: ‘I understand that the Council has now advanced its understanding of the psychoactivity of the alkyl nitrites group under the Act and concluded that only substances that directly stimulate or depress the central nervous system are psychoactive under the Act.’

The proposed ban was dropped.