Insights into isotretinoin’s ocular impact: Bridging dermatology and ophthalmology care

As part of our research spotlight series, which aims to highlight interesting pieces of optometry related research, Olivia Lamberg and Dr Yolanda Helfrich describe their findings from a recently published study which reviewed the ocular impact of the acne medication isotretinoin

Dry eye

Isotretinoin, also known as 13-cis-retinoic acid, is a commonly used oral medication for severe acne. The primary mechanism of action is to decrease sebum production, which in turn decreases comedogenesis.

While isotretinoin is a very effective treatment option for patients with recalcitrant acne vulgaris, its clinical use can be associated with a variety of adverse events ranging in severity and implications. These range from common mucocutaneous effects to ocular complications.

The reduction in sebum production by the meibomian glands of the eye sets the stage for a range of ocular effects. These include milder manifestations such as ocular surface alterations, dry eye diseases, ocular irritation and visual field defects.

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