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Hydroxychloroquine retinopathy screening guidelines: a false positive


Hydroxychloroquine sulphate (HCQ) is widely used for the treatment of a variety of rheumatological and dermatological conditions. Despite the advantages of HCQ as a treatment option, it is important to be aware of its potential retinal toxicity, which may be irreversible and progressive. In December 2020, The Royal College of Ophthalmologists published revised recommendations on monitoring HCQ retinopathy. Our case report highlights some of the shortcomings of blindly following their monitoring algorithm by presenting a case where apparent HCQ retinopathy resolved after Yttrium Aluminium Garnet (YAG) laser capsulotomy. The case reiterates the importance of thorough clinical examination. We suggest that while the acquisition of the spectral domain optical coherence tomography and fundus autofluorescence may be objective, their interpretation is subjective. Even with the use of artificial intelligence algorithms, false positives may be generated if the tests are confounded by copathology. There is no gold-standard test for detecting HCQ toxicity.

  • Macula
  • Retina
  • Ophthalmology
  • Rheumatology
  • General practice / family medicine

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