Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquin) is a medication prescribed for the treartment of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, juvenilrheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases. A rare side effect of plaquenil involves visual changes or loss of vision, known as hydroxychloroquin retinopathy. If caught early may improved after medication is stop, though it is not always reversible. It is recommended regular eye examn while of plaquenil to catch early changes. Once abnormality are discovered, toxicity has occurred. Certain people are at high risk for developing problems.
High risk patients would include those who:
- took high doses of plaquenil for years
- are 60 years or older
- have known kidney disease
All individual starting plaquenil treatment should have a baseline eye examination within the first year. If the patient's initial opthalmologic examination is normal and the patient is considered low risk, re-testing need not occur for five years. It is recommended that high risk patients have annual eye examinations.