Avatar universal

Eye Issues

I am on the homestretch of triple therapy, incivek, ribavirin and peg. This Friday will be my 23 injection of 24. I've been undetected since week 2. I've just come from the eye doctor for my annual exam. It seems I now have "cotton wool spot" in both eyes! I was told to go see a retina specialist. I know this is another wonderful side effect of the meds. I've called the nurse coordinator of the study and I'm waiting for direction, continue or not. Anybody out there have this issue?  I'm so close to the end but would hate to do further damage to my eyes. HELP
7 Responses
1815939 tn?1377991799
Did your eye doctor refer you to a retina specialist? I mean, did he make the call and get you in to be seen by the retina specialist ASAP on an urgent/emergent basis. If not, you should call an opthamologist who is a retina specialist and be seen on an urgent/emergency basis. Tell them over the phone when you make the appt. that you are on Interferon treatment and you were told you have cotton wool spots by your eye doctor. The specialist should see you the same day you call. They can make room for emergency patients. They will probably do a retinal scan as well.

Also, call and let your Hep C treating doctor know that you have developed cotton wool spots.

As you know, Interferon can cause cotton wool spots as well as retinal hemorrhages.

"Cotton-Wool Spots"
"Cotton wool spots are small areas of yellowish white coloration in the retina. They occur because of swelling of the surface layer of the retina, which consists of nerve fibers. This swelling almost always occurs because the blood supply to that area has been impaired and in the absence of normal blood flow through the retinal vessels the nerve fibers are injured in a particular location resulting in swelling and the appearance of a "cotton wool spot. " The most common causes of cotton wool spots are diseases, which affect the retina such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Often cotton wool spots will disappear on their own, but new ones may occur because the underlying condition may continue to cause blood flow problems. Most often the cotton wool spots themselves do not cause visual difficulties, but the condition which led to the cotton wool spots can cause retinal damage and the best treatment is to address the disease that caused the cotton wool spots initially. "



"Ophthalmologic Disorders"

"Decrease or loss of vision, retinopathy including macular edema, retinal artery or vein thrombosis, retinal hemorrhages and cotton wool spots, optic neuritis, papilledema and serous retinal detachment are induced or aggravated by treatment with Pegasys or other alpha interferons. All patients should receive an eye examination at baseline. Patients with pre-existing ophthalmologic disorders (e.g., diabetic or hypertensive retinopathy) should receive periodic ophthalmologic exams during interferon alpha treatment. Any patient who develops ocular symptoms should receive a prompt and complete eye examination. Pegasys treatment should be discontinued in patients who develop new or worsening ophthalmologic disorders."

2029713 tn?1373041104
I had the same thing happen to me at around week 36. I saw an opthamologist who referred me to a retinal specialist who then diagnosed cotton wool spots. He told me they were occasionally a side effect of the Interferon, and that they would probably resolve after treatment ended. I am currently 13 or 14 weeks post treatment and the spots have indeed gone away.

You are doing the right thing in seeing an opthamologist and a retinal specialist. This should be monitored by a professional who can properly determine the seriousness of your condition.

Good luck!
Avatar universal
Did you continue with treatment? I've had every side effect listed except vomiting.  Lucky me. Is it really necessary for me to do the two remaining weeks?  I'm still waiting for the doctor to all me back. Soooo frustrated.
Avatar universal
Thanks so much for the advise. My eye doctor thought I could wait until end of treatment to see a retina doctor but I think I'll call tomorrow to get an appointment. Better safe than sorry. This as you know is one hell of a ride and yours was twice as long!
2029713 tn?1373041104
The retinal specialist didn't feel that I was in any danger of worsening or permanent damage to my eyesight, so he cleared me to continue my riba/interferon treatment. The eye doctor was also in contact with the gastroenterologist who supervised my HCV treatment, which I think is important.

I'm not a doctor, so I can't answer the question of whether you can/should/shouldn't continue, but hopefully your doctor will be able to tell you.  

1280753 tn?1367757932
i'm in week 27/48 of treatment. triple with Inckvek. I also had to see and eye doc for several reasons. i was diagnosed with Oculomotor nerve palsy. it's like double vision, only is vertical not horizontal. also i am getting a lot of flashing and my eye muscles are tired all the time......generally my eyes are a mess. but the eye doc said as long as my retina is not detached, it should clear when i stop treatment.....

at least i don't have optalrectalitis......you figure out that one out. it involves your head being somewhere and you have a #(#^% outlook on life....

sorry i couldn't resist......keep going and finish treatment you are so close.

good luck
Avatar universal
Haha. I got a good laugh out of that one. Thanks!  I'll finish even though I'll need a seeing eye dog and a wig since I don't have much hair left either. Hope I'm prettier on the inside than outside!
Have an Answer?

You are reading content posted in the Hepatitis C Community

Top Hepatitis Answerers
317787 tn?1473358451
683231 tn?1467323017
Auburn, WA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Answer a few simple questions about your Hep C treatment journey.

Those who qualify may receive up to $100 for their time.
Explore More In Our Hep C Learning Center
image description
Learn about this treatable virus.
image description
Getting tested for this viral infection.
image description
3 key steps to getting on treatment.
image description
4 steps to getting on therapy.
image description
What you need to know about Hep C drugs.
image description
How the drugs might affect you.
image description
These tips may up your chances of a cure.
Popular Resources
The first signs of HIV may feel like the flu, with aches and a fever.
Frequency of HIV testing depends on your risk.
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) may help prevent HIV infection.
Millions of people are diagnosed with STDs in the U.S. each year.
STDs can't be transmitted by casual contact, like hugging or touching.
Syphilis is an STD that is transmitted by oral, genital and anal sex.