• Dr. Ryan Corte

Plaquenil (Hydroxychloroquine) Maculopathy: What Is It and Are You At Risk?

You use your central vision for just about everything you do! Could you imagine if it was gone?


Unfortunately, people on long-term Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) therapy have an increased risk of an eye disease that damages their central vision known as Plaquenil maculopathy.


In this article, you'll learn what Plaquenil maculopathy is, who is most at risk, and how the disease is managed.

What is Plaquenil maculopathy?

Plaquenil maculopathy (i.e. Plaquenil retinopathy, hydroxychloroquine toxicity) is an eye disease where there is damage to your macula, the area in your eye responsible for capturing your central vision, due to taking Plaquenil.


Who is at risk of developing Plaquenil maculopathy?

A few of the main risk factors for developing Plaquenil maculopathy include:

  • Taking Plaquenil for 5 or more years.

  • Taking Plaquenil at higher doses than recommended.

  • Taking Plaquenil and having an existing retinal disease.

How is Plaquenil toxicity monitored and diagnosed

When taking Plaquenil, you should have your eyes examined accordingly:

  • A baseline eye exam should be performed BEFORE you start on Plaquenil treatment.

  • While taking Plaquenil, you should have a 10-2 VF and macular OCT performed yearly.

  • This is particularly important after five years of Plaquenil treatment when retinal damage is most likely to occur.

Plaquenil maculopathy is diagnosed by assessing the following:

  • The appearance of the macula

  • Macula thickness values through a macular Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)

  • Central visual field

At Northlake Eye, we perform full Plaquenil workups that include the testing listed above.

Plaquenil maculopathy treatment

At the first signs of Plaquenil maculopathy, the medication should be stopped to prevent further damage and vision loss.


Unfortunately, once it develops, Plaquenil maculopathy has no currently available treatment. Therefore, the greatest treatment is prevention and early detection.


Concerned you may have or be at risk of having Plaquenil maculopathy?

Schedule an eye exam with one of our doctors of optometry today!

Give us a call or simply schedule online: Northlake Mall | Concord Mills | Biltmore Park | Asheville Mall


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