An investigation of the potential association between retinal detachment and oral fluoroquinolones: a self-controlled case series study

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2014 Sep;69(9):2563-7. doi: 10.1093/jac/dku145. Epub 2014 May 15.


Objectives: A study reported a significant association between oral fluoroquinolones and the development of retinal detachment among current users of oral fluoroquinolones (Etminan M, Forooghian F, Brophy JM et al. JAMA 2012; 307: 1414-9). However, other published studies have discordant results. This study aimed to investigate this association and to estimate the absolute risk of developing retinal detachment in patients exposed to oral fluoroquinolones.

Methods: A self-controlled case series study was conducted with data retrieved from the Hong Kong Clinical Data Analysis and Reporting System database and the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. Hong Kong and Taiwanese patients who had prescriptions for oral fluoroquinolones and a procedure for retinal detachment between 2001 and 2012 and between 2000 and 2010, respectively, were defined as cases and included in the analysis.

Results: A total of 9 events were found during the fluoroquinolone-exposed period and 1407 events were found during the non-exposed period. The adjusted incidence rate ratio in the combined model was 1.26 (0.65-2.47). The crude absolute risk of experiencing retinal detachment whilst on oral fluoroquinolones was ∼1.3 per 200 000 prescriptions.

Conclusions: Our study does not support the association between the use of fluoroquinolones and the development of retinal detachment and our findings are strikingly similar to that of the study conducted in Denmark. Doubt is cast on the association between the use of fluoroquinolones and the development of retinal detachment. Therefore, the use of fluoroquinolones should not be precluded based on the current evidence on the risk of retinal detachment. The impact of different ethnicities on the response to fluoroquinolones should also be investigated.

Keywords: Hong Kong; Taiwan; adverse drug reactions; antimicrobials; pharmacoepidemiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Fluoroquinolones / administration & dosage*
  • Fluoroquinolones / adverse effects*
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retinal Detachment / chemically induced*
  • Retinal Detachment / epidemiology
  • Taiwan / epidemiology


  • Fluoroquinolones