[Disorders of color perception and increase glare sensitivity in phenytoin and carbamazepine therapy. Ocular side effects of anticonvulsants]

Nervenarzt. 1995 Feb;66(2):89-96.
[Article in German]


Advanced psychophysical tests, performed in 42 epileptic patients, show that the antiepileptic drugs phenytoin and carbamazepine can specifically affect the retinal function, while Valproic Acid and the epileptic seizures do not. The Farnsworth-Munsell 100-Hue and Panel D-15 désaturé tests revealed an accumulation of errors along the tritan/tetartan axis (blue colour vision deficiencies) and a high total error score. The same defect was shown by measurement of the spectral sensitivity functions. The results obtained for mesopic vision and especially glare sensitivity measured by nyktometry were markedly affected in these patients compared to a normal population. The enhanced sensitivity to glare is mainly the only one symptom complained by the patient. We propose a screening method for early detection of phenytoin- and carbamazepine-induced neurotoxicity. The literature of ocular side effects of anticonvulsant drugs is carefully reviewed.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects*
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Carbamazepine / adverse effects*
  • Carbamazepine / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Color Perception Tests
  • Color Vision Defects / chemically induced*
  • Contrast Sensitivity / drug effects*
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Night Blindness / chemically induced*
  • Phenytoin / adverse effects*
  • Phenytoin / therapeutic use


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Carbamazepine
  • Phenytoin