Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis and Vision Problems
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If you use Levitra, Cialis, or Viagra, you may have heard about the possible effects they can have on your vision. Many people are unsure whether the vision problems these drugs cause is rumor or truth.

"Many patients come to me to learn more about vision problems associated with Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra, and tell the truth; yes, these drugs can cause serious vision problems," says Dr. Stuart Lewis, an ophthalmologist in Denver, Colorado.

There is well-documented information about drugs like Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis and the side effects they can cause. These drugs work by inhibiting an enzyme in the body (PDE-5), and enhancing the effects of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a chemical within the body that stimulates smooth muscle and enhances blood flow, resulting in the desired effects.

Unfortunately, these medications can also affect blood flow in arteries in other parts of the body, producing serious, unwanted side effects. For instance, in addition to inhibiting the enzyme PDE-5, Viagra-like medications can also inhibit the enzyme PDE-6. This other enzyme functions in the photoreceptors in the eyes; the result is light sensitivity or blue-tinged vision.

In addition to this vision-related side effect Levitra, Cialis, and Viagra can also cause other side effects, including:

§ Mausea

§ Facial Flushing

§ Headache

§ Pulmonary Hypertension

§ Nasal Congestion

§ Gastrointestinal Problems

These side effects can have serious medical consequences, and they occur in about 3% of men who take 25 - 50 mg, 50% of men who take 200 mg, and a staggering 100% of men taking 600 - 800 mg of the drugs.

In addition to these side effects, there is also a very rare eye disorder that has been reported in several men using Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis, and is now under investigation to determine if there is a link between the medication and this poorly understood vision problem.

This eye disorder is called Non-Arteric Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy (NAION). NAION is the most common optic nerve disease that occurs in adults over the age of 50. In response to the possible link between NAION and medication like Viagra, Pfizer has stated: “Most of the cases in which NAION has occurred in men taking Viagra have involved patients with underlying anatomic or vascular risk factors associated with the development of NAION.” Essentially, this means that relationship between Viagra and NAION cannot be determined at this time.

"The bottom line is, and what I tell all my patients, is that these medication should never be taken unless they are needed because there are serious health and visual risks associated with them," says Dr. Lewis.

If you are considering taking Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis, it is important that you check with your ophthalmologist before taking any of the drugs if you suffer from:

§ Diabetes

§ Retinitis Pigmentosa

§ Retinal Pthology (Macular Degeneration or other Optic Nerve Disorders)

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