The effects of sildenafil citrate on choroidal thickness as determined by enhanced depth imaging optical coherence tomography

Retina. 2011 Feb;31(2):332-5. doi: 10.1097/IAE.0b013e3181eef0ae.


Purpose: To investigate the effects of the phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor, sildenafil citrate, on choroidal thickness using eye-tracked enhanced depth imaging spectral-domain optical coherence tomography.

Methods: In a prospective interventional study, 8 healthy subjects (4 men and 4 women) with no ocular history underwent enhanced depth imaging spectral-domain optical coherence tomography at baseline, 1 hour, and 3 hours after the ingestion of 100 mg of sildenafil citrate. Choroidal thickness measurements for both eyes using enhanced depth imaging spectral-domain optical coherence tomography were taken by 2 masked readers at baseline, 1-hour, and 3-hour time points. Statistical analysis was performed to compare the measurements of choroidal thickness at each of the three intervals.

Results: The mean age of the subjects was 35.9 years (range 30-46 years). Mean choroidal thickness at baseline was 334 μm (± 57 μm). Mean choroidal thickness increased by 12.3% to 375 μm (± 68 μm) at 1 hour after ingestion (P < 0.001). At 3 hours after ingestion, the mean choroidal thickness remained elevated at 372 μm (± 61 μm), 11.6% thicker than baseline (P < 0.001). There was no significant difference in choroidal thickness between the 1-hour and the 3-hour intervals (P = 0.719).

Conclusion: Sildenafil citrate appears to increase choroidal thickness as measured by eye-tracked enhanced depth imaging spectral-domain optical coherence tomography measurements in healthy subjects 1 hour and 3 hours after ingestion. These findings may be of relevance given that increased choroidal thickness appears to be a risk factor for central serous chorioretinopathy and that several reports have suggested an association between phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors and this disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Choroid / drug effects*
  • Choroid / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phosphodiesterase 5 Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Piperazines / pharmacology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Purines / pharmacology
  • Sildenafil Citrate
  • Sulfones / pharmacology*
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence*


  • Phosphodiesterase 5 Inhibitors
  • Piperazines
  • Purines
  • Sulfones
  • Sildenafil Citrate