Viagra and blindness what you should know

In this day and era, a lot of science and research has gone into the medical field, and specifically the sector dealing with human sexual health, as well as reproduction. Since the invention of Viagra, it has been a godsend product for many men all around the world who suffered from erectile dysfunction. Viagra which goes by the scientific name, Sildenafil Citrate, is a medication used in the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension and erectile dysfunction. The drug was patented in 1996 and approved for use as an erectile dysfunction treatment in 1998, becoming the first approved oral treatment for erectile dysfunction in the United States. Since it’s sales have gone on rising all over the world, signifying its unimaginable demand and importance. Its common side effects include heartburn and headaches, while its adverse effects include prolonged erections, which may lead to damage of the penis.

However, in recent years results of studies have shown that one of the ingredients in the drug can cause blindness. These findings show that Viagra can cause permanent damage to the retina and the researchers say that the drug is not as safe as many people thought it was before. The studies have found that the drug can not only cause loss of eyesight in men with previous eye problems but also in those with seemingly normal vision. Some research carried out by Australian researchers showed that Viagra could cause blindness in men with an inherited eye condition by the name, retinitis pigmentosa, as well as those with normal sight, but who carry the gene for the condition.

Viagra and blindness
Viagra and blindness

One theory supporting this is that erectile dysfunction drugs, which Viagra falls under, may obstruct an enzyme which is important in the transmission of light signals from the retina to the brain. Reports from other studies show that this is a rare condition and is caused when blood supply is reduced to the optic nerve, hence causing permanent nerve damage. Though scientific research shows the connection between the drug and blindness in men, others argue that it is rare as over twenty-three million men have used Viagra since 1998, and the reported cases are minimal compared to a large number of users.

Some researchers around the world are now pushing for the manufacturers of the drug to include this mention of the rare cases of varying vision loss on the drug labels, so as to caution the users, however, this has found opposition from the makers of the drug, Pfizer Inc. The manufacturers argue that those are rare cases, compared to the over 23 million users all over the world since 1998. The condition of sudden loss of vision known as NAION (Non- Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy), which as mentioned, occurs when blood flow to the optic nerve is blocked, is also considered a very common cause of sudden vision loss among elderly people, hence complicating the issue more. The risk factors for this condition include heart disease and diabetes, which constitute two of the leading causes of impotence.

The manufacturers of Viagra, Pfizer Inc. already have warnings on the labels of the drugs about, one having temporary vision changes, where one can have difficulty distinguishing between green and blue or seeing blue tinges, showing the drug apparently has temporary effects on the retina, but that is a totally different issue from NAION. There isn’t widespread concern over these findings by several studies, but calls are slowly increasing to carry out more and bigger studies to clarify and ascertain the already existing findings.

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