Transient visual loss after amyl Isobutyl nitrite abuse

Alfrede Pece, Fabio Patelli, Paolo Milani, Luisa Pierro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose. To report retinal alterations after Isobutyl nitrite (popper) inhalation. Methods. Case Report. Results. A 30-year-old man presented a sudden visual decrease following the use of Isobutyl nitrite (popper) while he was at a discotheque. His visual acuity (VA) was 20/50 in the right eye (RE) and 20/63 in the left eye (LE). Ophthalmoscopy revealed symmetric alteration of the foveal reflex with a small yellowish-white spot in the foveal area, much more evident in the RE. Fluorescein angiography and OCT were normal. Visual field showed a mild reduction of central differential light sensitivity. A progressive recovery was noted and at one month's follow-up VA was 20/25 in OU with very faint yellowish-white spots. Conclusions. The inhalation of drugs as "popper" may cause a visual loss by unclear mechanisms. Isobutyl nitrite is a popular drug used above all among homosexuals because of its property of myorelaxation.1,2 This facilitates increases sexual pleasure and has aphrodisiac effects. Usually the drug, known as a "popper," is taken by inhalation and very rarely causes serious systemic side effects3 and no retinal complications have ever been reported. We describe a case of bilateral sudden visual loss after inhalation of "popper.".

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-106
Number of pages2
JournalSeminars in Ophthalmology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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