Skip to Content

What does hydroxychloroquine do to your eyes?

Hydroxychloroquine is a medication most commonly used to treat or prevent malaria. It can also be used to treat some forms of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. It is sometimes used as a preventative measure against lupus.

When it comes to the eyes, hydroxychloroquine can cause blurred vision, difficulty focusing, and vision changes. This is due to it disrupting retinal cells and the release of certain compounds like potassium which can interfere with the functioning of the eye.

Long-term use of hydroxychloroquine can lead to an accumulation of deposits in the retina, which can cause irreversible damage to the eye tissues and, in advanced stages, can lead to blindness.

It is important to be aware of these potential side effects of hydroxychloroquine, and it is recommended to have regular eye examinations while taking the medication. The dose should also be monitored and kept at a level that the individual can tolerate to minimize the risk of developing damage to their eyes.

Is eye damage from hydroxychloroquine reversible?

The answer to this question depends on the type and severity of the eye damage caused by hydroxychloroquine. Generally, damage resulting from short-term side effects is typically reversible, particularly if it is identified and treated early on.

For example, if hydroxychloroquine use is associated with significant photophobia, the eye may return to normal once the medication is stopped. In some cases, doctors may prescribe special eye drops or other treatments to correct any abnormalities.

On the other hand, long-term use of hydroxychloroquine can result in serious, irreversible eye damage. This is particularly true if the drug is not taken as directed or supervised by a doctor. In these cases, permanent damage to the eyes such as retinopathy can occur.

This type of eye damage can cause a range of symptoms including blurry vision, color blindness, and even blindness in extreme cases. Unfortunately, this type of eye damage is typically not reversible and in some cases, treatment may even worsen the problem.

It is therefore important to take extra care when taking hydroxychloroquine for a long period of time, as well as ensuring that any eye problems are identified and managed by a doctor.

How common are eye problems with hydroxychloroquine?

Eye problems associated with hydroxychloroquine use are relatively uncommon, occurring in less than 1% of cases. But, like any medication, it is important to monitor for any changes in vision or eye health due to its use.

The most common ocular side effects associated with hydroxychloroquine use are related to changes that may occur in the macula, the area of the retina responsible for sharp central vision. Several studies have identified an increased risk of developing mascular toxicity, which is characterized by the appearance of yellow deposits in the macula and altered color vision.

Other less common side effects that can occur with hydroxychloroquine use include dry eyes, conjunctivitis, and blurred vision. If any of these occur, it is important to consult a medical professional as soon as possible.

Additionally, it is essential to have regular ophthalmologic exams when taking hydroxychloroquine in order to rule out any potential eye problems caused by the medication.

What kind of eye damage can hydroxychloroquine cause?

Hydroxychloroquine is an antimalarial drug that is commonly used to treat autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. While it is generally considered safe, there have been some reports of hydroxychloroquine causing eye damage.

This damage can manifest in various ways and can be mild to severe. Common ocular side effects of hydroxychloroquine use include corneal changes, color vision disturbances, retinopathy, iris atrophy, and decreased visual acuity.

The use of hydroxychloroquine can also cause an accumulation of connective tissue in the retina and choroid, which is known as “snow banking” and can potentially lead to progressive vision deterioration.

Additionally, there have been cases of corneal verticillata, which is a series of curved or malformed corneal deposits caused by hydroxychloroquine. It is important to monitor ocular health regularly when taking hydroxychloroquine, as it is possible for eye damage to occur without any noticeable symptoms.

It is recommended to have an annual dilated eye exam to check for any signs of retinal damage. If any signs of eye damage are noticed, it is important to inform a medical professional immediately and discontinue use of hydroxychloroquine as it can increase the risk of developing permanent vision loss.

How long do side effects last after stopping hydroxychloroquine?

The length of time side effects last after stopping hydroxychloroquine varies depending on the individual and the dosage taken. Generally, common side effects such as nausea, stomach pain, and headache may persist for a few days after stopping the medication.

Less common, serious side effects such as heart problems, rash, vision changes, or muscle weakness may last for weeks or months after discontinuing the medication. It is important to speak to your physician if any of these side effects occur or if they become bothersome.

Additionally, if you experience any unusual symptoms after stopping hydroxychloroquine, it is important to contact your doctor right away.

How common is hydroxychloroquine retinopathy?

Hydroxychloroquine retinopathy is relatively uncommon, but the risk of developing it increases with daily usage and the duration of treatment. There is limited evidence available on how common it is as data on HCQ retinopathy is limited to smaller case groups.

Based on current research, the rate of retinopathy with hydroxychloroquine therapy (HCQ) is found to range from 0. 7% to 2%. This figure may be even lower when adjusting for risk factors (daily dosage and duration of use).

In a study conducted by Seddon et al in 1995, it was estimated that in adults aged 60-70 who used HCQ for 5 years, the rate of retinopathy stood at 0. 5%. However, the American Academy of Ophthalmology has since updated its guidelines to suggest a lower risk, saying that the risk of retinopathy was expected to be even lower for daily doses lower than 6.

5mg/kg and for shorter durations.

Overall, hydroxychloroquine retinopathy is infrequent but can still be serious, particularly when it is not caught in time. Therefore, it is important to respect guidelines and safety protocols of HCQ usage and to monitor regularly for any symptoms or abnormalities.

What is the major toxic effect of hydroxychloroquine?

The major toxic effect of hydroxychloroquine is its potential to cause eye problems and damage to the retina of the eye. These effects include blurred vision, color distortion and vision loss in advanced cases.

In some cases, the drug may cause permanent damage to the retina, which can lead to a decrease in vision or even blindness. Hydroxychloroquine can also cause nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, headaches and dizziness.

In rare cases it can also cause cardiac events and even death. It is especially important for people with pre-existing heart conditions to be aware of the potential risks associated with hydroxychloroquine before taking the drug.

It is also important to be monitored by an ophthalmologist if taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent any irreversible damage to the retina of the eye.

Can hydroxychloroquine cause vision issues?

Yes, hydroxychloroquine can cause vision issues. It belongs to a class of medications known as antimalarials, and it is often used to treat a variety of inflammatory, autoimmune, and other conditions.

However, the use of hydroxychloroquine can be associated with potentially serious side effects, including vision issues and toxicity in the eye. The most commonly reported vision-related side effect is retinopathy.

This is an ocular condition that involves damage to the retina, the thin, outermost layer of cells in the eye. Symptoms may include vision changes such as blurred or decreased vision, difficulty reading, night blindness, color changes, loss of peripheral vision, and even blindness.

Other potential vision issues include conjunctivitis, or pink eye, and an eye infection called keratitis. It is important to monitor your vision regularly and report any changes to your doctor who may recommend a checkup with an eye doctor.

Is Plaquenil eye damage reversible?

Unfortunately, in most cases, Plaquenil eye damage is not reversible. Plaquenil, also known as hydroxychloroquine, is an antimalarial medication which has been used to treat various autoimmune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and others.

It can be a very effective treatment option, but it is also associated with an increased risk of eye damage. The currently accepted medical guidance is that visual disturbances and retinal damage caused by hydroxychloroquine may be irreversible, especially if the medication has been used for a long time and in high doses.

Damage may include decreased vision (color and night vision), distorted vision, reduced visual acuity, and even blindness. People taking hydroxychloroquine should have regular eye exams in order to detect any early changes in vision.

If changes in vision are detected, the medication should be stopped immediately in order to minimize any further damage.

Can optometrist do a Plaquenil eye exam?

Yes, optometrists can do a Plaquenil eye exam. This type of eye exam is specifically designed to detect early signs of retinal toxicity due to long-term use of the medication Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine).

It is most often performed on people with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis who are taking Plaquenil. The optometrist will first perform a series of visual acuity tests to make sure your vision is not affected, then they will dilate your pupils and examine the back of your eyes.

They will take digital photos of the back of the eye to look for any signs of retinal toxicity. The photos will be saved and compared to any future exams to check if the retinal damage is progressing.

This exam should be repeated every six months while taking Plaquenil.

How often should you get your eyes tested on hydroxychloroquine?

The frequency of eye screening for hydroxychloroquine-treated patients is determined by various factors such as personal risk factors, previous findings on examination, and drug dosing. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, it is recommended to obtain an initial baseline examination within one year of starting treatment with hydroxychloroquine and then annually thereafter.

Higher doses and/or longer duration of hydroxychloroquine treatment may ultimately require more frequent ophthalmologic assessment. Risk factors that may increase the need for more frequent monitoring for hydroxychloroquine toxicity include age of more than 60 years, renal or hepatic insufficiency, pre-existing retinal or macular disease or maculopathy, diabetes, and the use of tamoxifen or tamoxifen derivatives.

Patients at particular risk should undergo a complete ophthalmic examination, including color vision testing, fundus photography, and electroretinography at least every six months to one year in order to detect potential asymptomatic retinal toxicity as early as possible.

Therefore, eye tests should be performed at least on a yearly basis for hydroxychloroquine-treated patients.

What should I avoid while taking hydroxychloroquine?

When taking hydroxychloroquine, it is important to avoid taking more than the medication dosage prescribed by your doctor. Additionally, you should avoid drinking alcohol while taking hydroxychloroquine since it could increase the risk of adverse side effects.

Additionally, it is important to avoid taking hydroxychloroquine if you have any pre-existing liver or kidney disease as hydroxychloroquine can adversely interact with these conditions.

You should also avoid driving or operating heavy machinery while taking hydroxychloroquine, as it can cause dizziness or blurry vision. Finally, it is important to avoid taking hydroxychloroquine if you are pregnant, lactating, or planning to become pregnant as it can have a negative impact on the fetus.

How often should you have an OCT eye scan?

OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) is a non-invasive imaging technique used to take detailed cross-sectional scans of the retina. It’s used to detect potential diseases, monitor them, and to determine the effectiveness of any treatment.

Generally speaking, how often you should have an OCT eye scan depends on the reason you’re having the scan done in the first place. Someone with a known retinal disease (like diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, or glaucoma) will likely have more frequent scans than someone without a particular diagnosis.

If you’ve been referred for an OCT eye scan because you have a certain condition, your doctor will create a plan to monitor and manage your visual health, and this plan may call for OCT scans to take place at specific intervals.

Individuals without any known retinal disease might be recommended to have an OCT eye scan every 2-4 years, depending on the risk factors discussed during their eye exam. It’s important to consult with your eye doctor to determine how often you should be having an OCT eye scan.