Find out about Hydroxychloroquine Retinopathy Screening Services at Matrix Eye Clinic

What is Hydroxychloroquine?

Hydroxychloroquine is a medicine usually prescribed by a rheumatologist or dermatologist to modify the body’s immune response. It reduces swelling (inflammation), pain, joint stiffness and rashes in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren’s syndrome and photosensitive skin conditions.

Hydroxychloroquine can cause damage to the retina (the light sensitive cells at the back of the eye) when taken for long periods of time and/or in high doses. This is known as retinal toxicity or retinopathy. There are also other factors that can increase an individual’s risk, such as use of tamoxifen and impaired kidney function.

Why must it be monitored?

Monitoring the retina regularly can detect signs of hydroxychloroquine toxicity before symptoms are experienced or damage to the vision occurs.

At Matrix Eye Clinic we believe that assessing the retina at the earliest point (ideally prior to commencement of treatment) increases the likelihood of being able to identify subtle changes, and to differentiate true hydroxychloroquine toxicity changes from normal retinal structural variations or changes for other reasons. Early detection is key as retinal changes due to hydroxychloroquine are irreversible. 

Why choose Matrix Eye Clinic?

Matrix Eye Clinic offers a comprehensive monitoring plan that can be started at any point during treatment. Diagnostic tests including visual field analysis and retinal imaging are carried out using state of the art Heidelberg equipment and are then evaluated by an experienced clinician.

A comprehensive report is provided following each review and can, with consent, be shared with the prescriber of the hydroxychloroquine so that they can continue to make informed decisions regarding ongoing treatment.

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