Sound Optometry

Domains: Clinical practice, Professionalism

No CPD Points

Welcome to Docet’s podcast Sound Optometry, hosted by Michelle Hanratty, an IP optometrist with 20 years’ experience on the high street and in hospital. Each month, with case studies and in-depth conversations, we will be exploring topics that matter the most to you as optometrists and are relevant for everyday practice.

Episode 29 - Hydroxychloroquine: Potentially toxic, potentially blinding

Hydroxychloroquine retinopathy can cause irreversible sight loss, and a patient case of rapid deterioration with devastating consequences has prompted Sound Optometry to highlight this topic to optometrists.

The episode starts with Janice McCrudden telling the host Michelle Hanratty about the stark reality of hydroxychloroquine retinopathy that is discovered too late. It puts into context the reasons why The Royal College of Ophthalmologists has updated the guidelines around the management of patients who are taking hydroxychloroquine long-term.

A pilot monitoring scheme is running in Wales and we hear from both patient and optometrist about their experience in this setting. The monitoring protocol is explained and the benefits of this service in terms of patient care and effective use of NHS resource are discussed. 

The second part of the episode explores the toxicity effects of hydroxychloroquine with Consultant Ophthalmologist Rhianon Reynolds. The new guidelines are explained, and the episode concludes with a reminder to optometrists to be ever vigilant when encountering a patient on this drug.

An additional reading element consolidates the learning on this topic.

Subscribe to the series on your preferred podcast player so you don’t miss an episode. You can access all episodes of Sound Optometry here.

First published: May 2023
Last reviewed: March 2024

    Learning outcomes


    s.10 Work collaboratively with colleagues in the interests of patients 

    • To work with colleagues to minimise risk of sight loss due to hydroxychloroquine retinopathy with effective communication and patient education.

    Clinical practice

    s.5 Keep your knowledge and skills up to date 

    • Know the signs and symptoms of hydroxychloroquine retinopathy.

    s.7 Conduct appropriate assessments, examinations, treatments and referrals 

    • Able to conduct a relevant history and symptoms of a patient taking hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine and to formulate an investigation plan.
    • Able to identify when a patient taking hydroxychloroquine needs to be referred for monitoring and know how monitoring can be accessed by patients.

      Unit 1 - Hydroxychloroquine audio track (~28 min)