Ocular findings in breast cancer patients using tamoxifen

Cutan Ocul Toxicol. 2015 Mar;34(1):16-20. doi: 10.3109/15569527.2014.888078. Epub 2014 Mar 31.


Aim: To examine ocular findings of breast cancer patients using tamoxifen.

Methods: The records of 79 consecutive breast cancer patients were examined, retrospectively. Female patients who had previously been diagnosed to have breast cancer with either stage I, II, or III disease, and were older than 25 years of age were included in the study. Results of the ophthalmic examination, color discrimination, and contrast sensitivity tests were recorded. Short wavelength automated perimetry (SWAP) sensitivity values were obtained, and average sensitivity values of test points at 5°, 9°, 15°, and 21° from the fixation were calculated.

Results: Forty-nine of the patients had received 20 mg daily dose of tamoxifen therapy (tamoxifen group), while remaining 30 patients had not used tamoxifen (control group). Anterior and posterior segment examination revealed no pathologic findings in both groups. Two patients (5%) in the tamoxifen group had diffuse color loss, while none did in the control group (p = 0.523). Statistically significant differences were not detected between two groups when square roots of total error in color vision, red-green, and blue-yellow partial error scores were compared. Contrast sensitivity values were similar in both groups. Average mean deviation (MD) and average sensitivity values of test points at each 4° were statistically significantly lower in the tamoxifen group than the control group (p = 0.002, p = 0.001, p < 0.001 and p < 0.001 for right eye; p = 0.002, p= 0.001, p < 0.001 and p < 0.001 for left eye). Strong correlation was detected between MD, and duration (r = -0.832 and r = -0.842 for right and left eyes, respectively) and cumulative dose of tamoxifen use (r = -0.864 and r = -0.854 for right and left eyes, respectively).

Conclusion: Clinically significant ocular toxicity is not frequently encountered in breast cancer patients, however, SWAP changes may occur early after tamoxifen utilization.

Keywords: Breast cancer; short wavelength automated perimetry; standard dose; tamoxifen toxicity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / adverse effects*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Color Perception / drug effects
  • Eye / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Tamoxifen / adverse effects*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Tamoxifen