The purpose of this review is to update clinicians on available literature on the ocular toxicity
of ethambutol and the type of eye care to be provided to patients treated with these medications.
Ethambutol is a commonly used first-line anti-tuberculosis drug. Since its first use in the 1960s,
ocular toxicity is described as related to dose and duration, and it is reversible on therapy
discontinuation. However, the reversibility of the toxic optic neuropathy remains controversial.
The mechanism of ocular toxicity owing to ethambutol is still under investigation. Other than
discontinuing the drug, no specific treatment is available for the optic neuropathy caused by
ethambutol. Doctors prescribing ethambutol should be aware of the ocular toxicity, and the
drug should be used with proper patient education and ophthalmic monitoring.