Hydroxychloroquine retinopathy: screening needed to prevent blindness

Elvis Ojaimi, Robyn H Guymer, Tien Y Wong and C Alex Harper
Med J Aust 2010; 192 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2010.tb03676.x
Published online: 7 June 2010

To the Editor: Hydroxychloroquine is used infrequently (in less than 0.1% of Australians) for the long-term management of chronic conditions (eg, rheumatoid arthritis).1 Hydroxychloroquine retinopathy is a rare but sight-threatening side effect that is usually not reversible.2-5 Various eye screening recommendations for hydroxychloroquine toxicity have been proposed overseas,3-5 but there is no recommended consensus for eye screening in Australia. As a result, screening is currently not uniform or universal, and this sometimes leads to significant consequences.

  • 1 Medical Retinal Clinic, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC.


We thank the Medical Photographic Imaging Centre at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital for the images.


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