HCQ Screening – NUH

Patients who are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis are sometimes commenced on a drug called Hydroxychloroquine.

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and the related medication Chloroquine have been known to have the potential to cause damage to the light sensing cells in the eye (the retina) for a long time.

Guidance does exist to ensure that clinicians and patients are aware of the potential for visual problems relating to this drug, and more recently increasingly recommend undertaking tests to look for pre-symptomatic changes on the retina to prevent visual loss which would be permanent.

In 2018 guidance was introduced advising of annual eye checks led by hospital ophthalmology services to look for HCQ retinopathy.  The guidance was updated in 2020 and can be found at:  https://www.rcophth.ac.uk/news-views/hydroxychloroquine-and-chloroquine-retinopathy/

Due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, NUH have only recently commenced a screening program for Hydroxychloroquine retinopathy and will work with the CCG to ensure that this is a sustainable and effective service.