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Viagra can Cause Permanent Blindness: Study

Update Date: Oct 01, 2014 07:48 PM EDT
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For men looking to score the perfect ten in bed, performance may come at the cost of their vision. New research shows that an active ingredient in erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra, can cause permanent blindness.

The culprit -Sildenafil, is known to cause vision problems was known but new research from University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia shows that ED drugs including Viagra can cause permanent loss of vision in people with a rare condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa. Even healthy people with no vision problems but carrying one copy of the mutant gene, are at risk of developing vision problems, Daily Mail reported.

As part of the study, researchers tested the effects of sildenafil on healthy mice and a mice with one copy of Retinitis Pigmentosa mutant gene. They found that vision in mice with mutant gene was affected for two weeks and the cells of retina began to die. The healthy mice experienced vision problems for two days. Retinitis Pigmentosa is an inherited condition which causes retinal cells to wear out and die.

Explaining how sildenafil can affect vision, researchers said that it could block transmission of light signals from retina to the brain. According to India Today, 1 in 50 people are said to be carriers of a single copy of the mutant gene.

"Side effects from ED drugs can include sensitivity to bright light, blurred vision and altered colour vision. We are concerned that people who have normal vision but who carry a single copy of the mutant gene for the blinding disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa, could be more susceptible to these changes. These finding are highly significant because about one in 50 people are likely to be carriers of recessive genes which cause retinal disease but are unlikely to know this, because their vision is normal," said Dr Lisa Nivison-Smith from the School of Optometry and Vision Science at UNSW said, Financial Express reports.  

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