Article Text

PDF
Does use of isotretinoin rule out a career in flying?
  1. S P Mollan1,
  2. M Woodcock1,2,
  3. R Siddiqi1,
  4. J Huntbach2,3,
  5. P Good1,
  6. R A H Scott1,2
  1. 1Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre, City Hospital, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2Royal Centre of Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to: MissSusan P Mollan Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre, City Hospital, Dudley Road, Birmingham B18 7QH, UK; soozmollan{at}doctors.org.uk

Abstract

Aim: To evaluate whether previous isotretinoin use induces permanent, measurable, and clinically significant abnormalities in night vision such that flying is precluded, and whether potential military and civilian commercial aviators should be screened routinely.

Methods: A retrospective, non-interventional, consecutive case series of 47 individuals with a confirmed history of oral isotretinoin use were compared to 20 age and sex matched controls.

Results: 47 individuals (44 males and three females), age range 17–33, underwent Goldmann-Weekers dark adaptation (DA) and standard electroretinogram (ERG) according to ISCEV protocols. 34 patients showed no abnormality in any parameters. Two patients had abnormal DA and ERGs. The mean scotopic ERG b wave amplitude of the isotretinoin group was 496.5 μV (SD 51.3 μV) compared with 501.7 μV (62.3.1 μV) among the controls. The group mean a:b ratio was 0.55 (0.04) compared to 0.69 (0.08) in the controls.

Conclusion: Previous use of isotretinoin may have caused retinal toxicity in two subjects and laboratory evidence of night blindness in 11 further subjects. One subject had subclinical changes remaining in the ERG 96 months after cessation of isotretinoin. This may justify the directed use of electrophysiological screening in professions that are night vision critical.

  • DA, dark adaptation
  • ERG, electroretinogram
  • ISCEV, International Society for Clinical Electrophysiology of Vision
  • RPE, retinal pigment epithelium
  • SF, standard flash
  • dark adaptation
  • electrodiagnostic testing
  • isotretinoin
  • DA, dark adaptation
  • ERG, electroretinogram
  • ISCEV, International Society for Clinical Electrophysiology of Vision
  • RPE, retinal pigment epithelium
  • SF, standard flash
  • dark adaptation
  • electrodiagnostic testing
  • isotretinoin

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Footnotes

  • No grants or funds were used in the preparation of this manuscript.

  • None of the authors have a proprietary interest.

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles

  • BJO at a glance
    Creig Hoyt