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Is Ocular Toxicity Expected in Chloroquine/Hydroxychloroquine Prescription as a Therapeutic or Prophylactic Option in COVID-19?

[ Vol. 15 , Issue. 2 ]


Masood Bagheri*, Zahra Rashe, Mohammad H. Ahur and Mojtaba Eidizadeh   Pages 113 - 118 ( 6 )


Background: On 11th March 2020, WHO announced novel coronavirus infectious (COVID-19) as a pandemic. New Coronavirus Pneumonia (NCP) that emerge on 31st December 2019 from China and quickly became a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). In the absence of evidence-based proven prophylactic or therapeutic options, chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine (CQ/HCQ) patented as first line choice in COVID- 19 treatment, which raised concerns about drug poisoning, especially ocular toxicity.

Objective: This study aims to investigate the possibility of ocular toxicity and the need for ophthalmic counseling to prescribing this therapeutic protocol.

Methods: All the articles that were most relevant to the COVID-19 therapeutic or prophylactic options and CQ derivative ocular toxicity, were founded by a literature search and were thoroughly reviewed.

Results: Anecdotal recent reports introduce CQ/HCQ as an effective therapeutic or prophylactic choice for COVID-19. Because of the short time prescribe and the insignificant cumulative dose of the drug on the one hand and a higher risk of cross-infection during an ophthalmic examination, on the other hand, an ophthalmologic consult is not recommended except in highrisk patients for retinal toxicity.

Conclusion: This study recommended ophthalmic evaluation before CQ/HCQ prescription for treatment or prophylaxis of COVID-19 only in preexisting maculopathy.


Coronavirus, COVID19, pandemic, chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, ophthalmology.


Department of Ophthalmology, Imam Khomeini Eye Center, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Department of Ophthalmology, Nikookari Eye Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Cardiovascular Research Center, Shahid Madani Medical & Training Hospital, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Department of Ophthalmology, Nikookari Eye Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz

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