Ethambutol neuroretinopathy

Semin Ophthalmol. 2007 Jul-Sep;22(3):141-6. doi: 10.1080/08820530701457134.


Objective: To describe the clinical features of ethambutol neuroretinopathy.

Design: Case report and meta-analysis of the literature.

Participants: A patient with clinical and electrophysiological findings suggestive of ethambutol neuroretinopathy.

Testing: Electroretinogram, electro-oculogram and visual fields.

Main outcome measure: Clinical and electrophysiological findings.

Results: 101 cases were reviewed, retinal findings include retinal pigment epithelial changes, macular edema, flame-shaped hemorrhages. Electroretinogram findings include decreased amplitude and abnormal wave pattern in full field ERG, multifocal or pattern ERG and electro-oculogram findings include abnormal Arden ratio.

Conclusions: Clinical, electrophysiological and in vitro studies support the toxic effect of ethambutol on the retina. Therefore ethambutol ocular toxicity may be a neuroretinopathy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antitubercular Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Electrooculography
  • Electroretinography
  • Ethambutol / adverse effects*
  • Ethambutol / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Mediastinum
  • Retinal Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Retinal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Retinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Visual Fields


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Ethambutol