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13.12.2018 | Review Article | Ausgabe 3/2019

Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology 3/2019

Interferon-α-induced retinopathy in chronic hepatitis C treatment: summary, considerations, and recommendations

Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology > Ausgabe 3/2019
Zubir S. Rentiya, Matthew Wells, Junun Bae, Kuan-Jen Chen, An-Ning Chao, Nicholas Turgeon, Syed M. Shah, Mostafa Hanout


Interferons are cytokines that regulate the host’s response to viral infection, particularly in the setting of the immunologic response to the hepatitis C virus (HCV). While the virus has the ability to evade the host’s innate and specific immunity, exogenous interferon-α with combined ribavirin, treatments have been found to achieve a significant sustained viral response in subgroups of patients with chronic HCV. One of the major side effects of interferon-α is an ocular retinopathy characterized by flame-shaped hemorrhages and cotton wool spots visualized on funduscopic examination. There have been documented cases of more severe side effects including optic nerve and retinal artery damage; however, these instances are the minority. We sought to investigate the literature surrounding interferon-induced retinopathy, clinically correlate our findings with two recent cases, and provide recommendations for practitioners who continue to manage chronic HCV patients using interferon-α with combined ribavirin treatments.

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