Phosphodiesterase Type 5 Inhibitors and Visual Side Effects: A Narrative Review

J Ophthalmic Vis Res. 2021 Apr 29;16(2):248-259. doi: 10.18502/jovr.v16i2.9088. eCollection 2021 Apr-Jun.


Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors such as sildenafil citrate and tadalafil are well known for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. However, their use in the presence of pulmonary hypertension can cause ophthalmologic side effects, including non-arteritic optic ischemic neuropathy, chorioretinopathy, glaucoma, and optic atrophy. The present review aimed to identify these visual side effects and provide recommendations. We identified articles published from January 2000 to March 2019 on diseases arising from the management of sexual dysfunction in urology or pulmonary hypertension in pneumonia that could cause pathologic alterations in eye structure based on a literature search of the MEDLINE electronic database using keywords for the most common adverse effects and different kinds of phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors. After applying the exclusion criteria, we selected 36 of the 77 articles initially identified to write the narrative review and added 20 additional articles to completely describe the pathological entities. Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors can cause side effects in the eye including ocular surface abnormalities, increased intraocular pressure and glaucoma, uveitis, non-arteritic ischemic neuropathy, chorioretinopathy, retinal occlusion, and visual field changes. There is an increased need for well-performed studies to better understand these side effects, which are common due to the wide use of sildenafil.

Keywords: Eye Manifestations; Physiological; Review; Sexual Dysfunction; Sildenafil Citrate; Adverse Effects.

Publication types

  • Review