Hydroxychloroquine Retinal Screening

Whitstable Medical Practice offers a Hydroxychloroquine Retinal Screening service. This clinic is for patients who have been prescribed hydroxychloroquine and therefore require annual screening to rule out any retinal toxicity.


What is Hydroxychloroquine?

Hydroxychloroquine is a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD). It regulates the activity of the immune system, which may be overactive in some conditions. Hydroxychloroquine can modify the underlying disease process, rather than simply treating the symptoms.

Hydroxychloroquine is used to treat:

  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • discoid and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)

Over the long term hydroxychloroquine can reduce pain, swelling and joint stiffness. Hydroxychloroquine is often taken in combination with other drugs such as methotrexate.


The Screening Appointment

A few checks will be undertaken by the optometrist within a 30 minute appointment. These checks are quick and painless. This appointment does not replace your regular eye examination with your usual optometrist, as this appointment is specifically a screening appointment for retinal toxicity.

There are three main types of testing that may be carried out by an optometrist:

  1. Photos will be taken of both eyes using an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) machine – this a non-invasive diagnostic instrument used for imaging the retina.
  2. Visual fields will be checked using a Humphrey Field Analyser to make sure you don’t have any abnormal blind spots.
  3. Visual acuity will be checked – this is a measure of the ability of the eye to distinguish shapes and the details of objects at a given distance.

You will need to bring all of the glasses that you currently wear (distance and reading) and a list of the medications that you are currently taking. You will be able to drive following your appointment, drops that blur your vision will not be put into your eyes routinely for this screening appointment.

You will receive a letter of your results within a month following your appointment.


Contacting us

If for any reason you cannot make your appointment, or if you have any queries following an appointment, please contact our Clinical Services reception on 01227 284314 or 01227 284315 (Monday-Friday 8am-5pm).

Whilst you are under the care of the Hydroxychloroquine Screening Service, please ensure that you inform us of any change to your address or telephone number.


Clinic Location

Estuary View Medical Centre
Boorman Way