Cytarabine-Induced Corneal Toxicity: Clinical Features and Relief of Symptoms with Loteprednol Etabonate 0.5% in Two Patients

Turk J Ophthalmol. 2021 Apr 29;51(2):114-117. doi: 10.4274/tjo.galenos.2020.99248.


We report two patients who developed toxic keratopathy following high-dose cytarabine chemotherapy and whose symptoms resolved following topical loteprednol etabonate 0.5% treatment. A 25-year-old woman and a 26-year-old man with acute myeloid leukemia were referred to our department with symptoms of ocular discomfort, photophobia, and blurred vision after consolidation chemotherapy. Central corneal epithelial microcysts were observed bilaterally in both patients, and in vivo confocal microscopy showed highly reflective disseminated granular and irregular intraepithelial opacities, mainly in the basal epithelial layers. Loteprednol etabonate 0.5% relieved both patients' symptoms in less than a week, and the microcysts disappeared in 2 to 3 weeks of treatment. Although there is no standardized treatment protocol for cytarabine-induced corneal toxicity, dexamethasone 0.1% and prednisolone phosphate 1.0% were reported to be effective in the resolution of discomfort and symptoms. In the two patients we report herein, loteprednol etabonate 0.5% four times daily was also effective in suppressing the symptoms.

Keywords: Acute myeloid leukemia; corneal microcysts; cytarabine; cytarabine-induced corneal toxicity; in vivo confocal microscopy; loteprednol etabonate.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Allergic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / adverse effects
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use
  • Cornea / drug effects*
  • Cornea / pathology
  • Corneal Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Corneal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Corneal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cytarabine / adverse effects*
  • Cytarabine / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / drug therapy
  • Loteprednol Etabonate / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Ophthalmic Solutions


  • Anti-Allergic Agents
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Cytarabine
  • Loteprednol Etabonate