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Hi seatx,

First off, I am really glad to hear that you are going to be put on Plaquenil. Special care must be taken for your eyes when you do start on Plaquenil so that it will give your Opthalmologist a "jumping off point" with your eyes. This is because Plaquenil can cause retinal problems such as the build up of deposits in the back of the eye causing eye spots in your field of vision. That is why they like to keep a close eye on things. If they get a baseline, they can watch closely for changes in the retina or the eye in general. I think that doctors tend to recommend appointments every three to six months with an Opthalmologist. If you were to develop blind spots from the deposits, they can take you off of the Plaquenil and the spots disappear in a matter of weeks. I would not let this frighten you, the chances of this all happening isn't that often but they like to make sure that you are safely using it.

When you see the Opthalmologist, he/she will preform some testing on your eyes. First of all they will do a "visual acuity" test involving looking at the screen in front of you to see if you can see the big "E" and all the other letters. This will measure what level your vision is at. If you have glasses, you should be about 20/20 but sometimes people are a bit less than 20/20 with correction even with glasses. The Opthalmologist will sometimes put in special drops after to dilate the pupil so that they can get a good look inside to make sure everything is clear and the optic disk/nerves are free from inflammation. If they think that everything is good, then that should be pretty much all of the testing that they will do. Sometimes they will send you for a "visual fields" test in order to see how well your field of vision is. This test is simple, and painless! They just cover one of your eyes and make you look into a machine. You watch for dots and flashes that appear in the field and click the mouse when you see them. Then they switch eyes and do the same thing. It's a good and easy test.

If your Opthalmologist says that everything checks out, then off you go with the Plaquenil! Then its just the matter of making sure that you have regular check ups and report any changes in your vision to the Opthalmologist. Generally, things will be fine and you will feel SO much better with the Plaquenil!! Take care and please let us know how things go!!


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