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Plaquinel & Diabetic Eye Exams

Performed at:

Kansas City, MO

Performed by:

Lynne G. McElhinney, MD

Plaquinel Eye Exams

Plaquenil and Your Eyes

Plaquenil is a medication commonly prescribed for patients with systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other connective tissue disorders.  When taking high doses for extended periods of time, the medication may build up in the pigmented layer of the retina inside the eye. In some patients this high concentration of medication in the retina can cause damage and loss of vision.  

The symptoms of Plaquenil retinopathy are usually quite subtle at the onset and may include distortion, dimming, or blurring of vision, difficulty reading, sensitivity to light, flickering lights, or colored haloes around lights.  More severe damage may cause blind spots in the central portion of the visual field and loss of visual acuity. The visual symptoms may be reversible if the condition is detected early.

Patients who take Plaquenil should have yearly eye examinations to screen for evidence of retinal toxicity.  These regular eye exams are particularly important for patients who have been on the medication for 5 years or more.  These exams include testing of visual acuity, careful examination of the retina, testing of color vision, scans of the retina and visual fields.  

If you are taking Plaquenil you should have an annual or biannual eye exam.  If you are taking Plaquenil and you experience any prolonged visual symptoms or other changes in your vision, you should contact an eye care specialist for evaluation.

Diabetic Eye Exams

Diabetes And Your Eyes

You should plan to make regular eye exam visits when you have diabetes. 

Vision problems related to diabetes include fluctuating vision, double vision and loss of vision.  The most common reason patients with diabetes experiences loss of vision is diabetic retinopathy. This condition is the result of damaged or leaking blood vessels in the retina.  When diabetic retinopathy begins to affect the quality of vision, your ophthalmologist will often recommend treatment that may include laser therapy, injections of medication into the eye, or surgery.

Diabetes management usually requires life-style adjustments and consistent concentrated effort.  The basic principles include a healthy diet, weight control, exercise, glucose monitoring and medication.

The good news is that diabetes-related eye disease can often be prevented or managed with a healthy lifestyle and annual visits to an eye doctor.

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