Recreational drugs amyl nitrate and isopropyl nitrate (poppers) are associated with bilateral vision loss and retinal disorders due to damage of the foveal cone outer segments, according to a study released by the Archives of Ophthalmology.
A team lead by Dr Isabelle Audo, Clinical Investigation Center, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris, France, conducted a restrospective, observational case series on 6 patients with bilateral vision loss after chronic use of amyl or isopropyl nitrates. The outcome measures included: symptoms, medical history, ophthalmic examination and functional and morphological tests.
All patients examined presented with progressive bilateral vision loss. Two patients experienced central photopsia and initial visual acuities varied from 20/50 to 20/25.
In each patient a bilateral yellow foveal spot was found and was linked to the disruption of the foveal cones' outer segments. After discontinued use of poppers, 4 patients demonstrated significant anatomical and functional improvement.