A Study of the Prevalence and Pattern of Sickle Cell Retinopathy among Eye Clinic Attendees in a Nigerian Tertiary Hospital https://doi.org/10.60787/NMJ-64-2-293

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Adetunji Olusesan Adenekan
Adegboyega Sunday Alabi
Olubanke Theodora Ilo
Judith Ogechi Anikwenwa
Omolola Olayemi Adisa
Folasade Bolanle Akinsola


Sickle Cell, Proliferative Retinopathy, Symptoms, Visual Loss, Screening, Treatment


Background: Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is the first and the most common group of haemoglobinopathies in the world. It affects virtually all body systems including the eyes. Proliferative Sickle cell Retinopathy (PSR) is a cause of visual loss in the working age group which has an impact on the economy and quality of life. This study aimed to describe the pattern of presentation of Sickle Cell Retinopathy (SCR)to improve understanding of the disease presentation.

Methodology: The ophthalmic surgical records of patients diagnosed with sickle cell disease at the retinal unit, department of Ophthalmology at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital between the year 2011-2020 were reviewed retrospectively.

Results: A total of 64 patients (108 eyes) records were reviewed in this study. The Prevalenceof sickle cell retinopathy was 5.4% of all retina cases within the study period. Age ranged from 10-70 years; the mean age was 36.28 years ± 13.66. There were 25 females and 39 males (F:M= 1:1.6). SCR was most common in patients with HbSC 40 (62.5%). Common presenting symptoms were loss of vision34 (53.1%) and floaters 34 (53.1%). Goldberg stage III 26 (20.3%) and stage IV 27 (21.1%) were the most common stages of proliferative disease at presentation. A significant association was seen between Haemoglobin genotype SC and the occurrence of sickle cell retinopathy with 90% of the patients with Haemoglobin genotype SC having had PSR. The majority of the patients25 (39.1%) had no treatment, and 13 (20.3%) had laser photocoagulation only.

Conclusion: Sickle cell retinopathy is not uncommon in Nigeria and many patients only present in tertiary health facilities when they have severe symptoms such as loss of vision. This may be attributed to the late diagnosis and referral. Routine screening is recommended to ensure early detection and treatment to prevent avoidable blindness.

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