Br J Ophthalmol 87:247-248 doi:10.1136/bjo.87.2.247
  • Letter

Severe interferon associated retinopathy

  1. K L Tu,
  2. J Bowyer,
  3. K Schofield,
  4. S Harding
  1. Correspondence to: Mr K L Tu, St Paul’s Eye Unit, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool L7 8XP, UK; kltu{at}
  • Accepted 29 July 2002

Interferon alfa is used in various human malignancies for its antitumour activity. One of its ocular side effects is retinopathy.1 Interferon associated retinopathy is generally mild and resolves completely. We describe a severe retinopathy in a hypertensive patient treated with interferon for multiple myeloma.

Case report

A 56 year old man presented with a 3 week history of deterioration and distortion of right vision. Visual acuities (VA) were 6/60 right and 1/60 left. Funduscopy revealed bilateral extensive peripapillary cotton wool spots, retinal thickening, optic disc hyperaemia, and blot haemorrhages. Arteriolar changes were minimal.

He was anaemic (Hb 10.6 gdl/l) and slightly thrombocytopenic (platelets 93 × 109/l). Plasma viscosity was 1.59 (normal 1.5–1.7). Renal function was normal at presentation.

He underwent peripheral blood stem cell transplant for multiple myeloma 8 months previously after having melphalan 110 mg/m2 and total body irradiation (including the head) in a total dose of 1200 cGy given in six fractions over 3 days. He …