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The effect of long-term use of benzodiazepines on the eye and retina

Lookup NU author(s): Michael Clarke, Dr Keith Mitchell


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Thirty patients on long-term benzodiazepine medication were subjected to full ophthalmoscopic examination. Of these 19 (63.3%) complained of symptoms of irritation, blurred vision or difficulty in reading. None, however, had reduced visual acuities apart from two where the cause was longstanding amblyopia. Thirteen patients had some form of retinal finding, 9 macular and 4 non-macular. Of the 14 who presented for flash and pattern electroretinography (ERG), none showed any abnormality which could be ascribed to the medication, its total dose, or duration. We conclude, on the basis of the evidence from this small cohort, that long-term benzodiazepine medication has little effect upon retinal function as signalled by the ERG.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Clarke MP; Mitchell KW; Stafanous SN; Ashton H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Documenta Ophthalmologica

Year: 1999

Volume: 99

Issue: 1

Pages: 55-68

ISSN (print): 0012-4486

ISSN (electronic): 1573-2622

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1023/A:1002418330466


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