STUDY: Use Of Poppers May Lead To Eye Damage, Loss Of Sight

A report from the UK’s Royal Bolton Hospital claims sniffing poppers may lead to lasting eye damage.

According to the BBC:

Poppers is the street name for a group of chemicals called alkyl nitrites and are used by thousands of clubbers as a stimulant and legal high.

It is illegal to sell them for human consumption but they are often sold in sex shops, clubs and gay bars as “air fresheners”.

Writing in the journal Eye, doctors who carried out the study say some patients have experienced damaged vision after just one dose and are calling for more awareness among users and ophthalmologists.

A man who goes by “Steve” has been using poppers for decades and took part in the study after his doctor was puzzled by his blurred vision.

“They’re used by so many people for a quick high, you really don’t think about the health impacts,” he told the BBC. A recent study on drug use among the British LGBT community by the Lesbian and Gay Foundation found that 1 in 5 had used poppers in the last month.

Royal Bolton Hospital’s report doesn’t suggest that everyone who uses poppers will lose their eyesight but that more needs to be done so potential users can properly weigh the risks. “If there was some sort of warning as with cigarettes and alcohol,” Steve said, “people could make more of an informed choice.”

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  • Anonymous

    Face it, poppers are not healthy. Perhaps they should have an accurate warning label, but then the manufacturers would have to admit that they are for human consumption and vast complicated drug regulations would make that impossible.

  • IzzyLuna

    The report doesn’t suggest that everyone will lose their site, but until then LET’S FREAK EVERYONE OUT AND SCARE THEM!

  • LandStander

    @IzzyLuna: Yes, the report doesn’t suggest that -everyone- will lose their sight…

    Just like reports on lead-based paint do not suggest that -everyone- with lead-painted walls will die of lead poisoning…

    Just like reports on cigarette smoking do not suggest that -everyone- who smokes will get lung cancer…

  • FStratford


    Oh please, tobacco smoke and lung cancer has been peer reviewed an d published in reputable scientific journals.

    So is lead-based paint.

    To equate these with a preliminary finding on poppers just shows how ignorant you are with medical research. There is a reason to further investigate and put some cautionary labeling if the risk is high. But your false equivalence, coupled with your condescending tone is noting short of stupId

  • JOHN 1957

    “A man who goes by “Steve” has been using poppers for decades and took part in the study after his doctor was puzzled by his blurred vision.”

    Gee Doc, exactly how many decades has Steve been using poppers? His vision could just be blurred due to age factor, which is quite common with many people. Twenty five years ago they blamed poppers for the onslaught of AIDS. The party community (straight & gay) has been using them since the disco era, when DJ’s use to throw them onto the dance floor while the hardcore party people were stomping the night away. Back in the 70’s it was Amyl nitrite, often used to treat angina pectoris (heart condition) and they looked like miniature little corn on the cob. Common sense 101 If your allergic to shellfish, you don’t go out and order lobster or anything in the shellfish family! Everybody is different, we live and learn, we can’t control the world, though too many with a Napoleon complex will try to. There are people who have never tasted liquor and end up with Cirrhosis of the Liver due to other criteria in their genetic makeup. There are a many things and foods that are deadly and yet man continues to consume them, which then arises the question, WHY?

    History; In 1844, the French chemist Antoine Jérôme Balard synthesized amyl nitrite. Sir Thomas Lauder Brunton (March 14, 1844–September 16, 1916), a Scottish physician, famously pioneered the use of amyl nitrite to treat angina pectoris. Brunton’s clinical use of amyl nitrite to treat angina was inspired by earlier work with the same reagent by Arthur Gamgee and Benjamin Ward Richardson.

    So technically speaking, the original poppers were discovered 168 years ago and do have a medical use.

  • Vegas Tearoom

    The original amyl is OK. It’s the crap on the market that replaced the safe stuff that is evil in a bottle.

  • StephK

    I see that this thread is a couple of years old, but I certainly hope its link to a more current article will lead to this cautionary tale re: poppers. Yes, they can be dangerous and addictive, and though they can be fun while in the throes of sex or even when viewing porn,the risks to one’s vision is real. I recently met a 47 yr. old man who has worsening vision problems that started about 6 years ago. These problems have caused him to give up driving, leave his job and have taken away 80% of his vision.Initially he told me that he was suffering from retinitus pigmentosa,but after he came back from China from unsuccessful stem cell therapy for his problem, he conceded that he had been hitting the popppers hard for decades, and that he was unable to have sex or orgasm without them.He really believes that his habit may have something to do with his encroaching blindness.Having found a number of articles and studies making a case for that link, I do believe he may be right. Sorry guys, I used to enjoy poppers as much as anybody else, but the risks for blindness, strokes and heart attacks, especially as one ages, are too great and aren’t worth it. I certainly hope that what I have written here will give someone pause to consider before reaching for that little bottle for those risky euphoric minutes.

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