Study of the Retinal Impact of Sickel Cell Disease in Homozygous SS Patients Aged over 15 Years in a Hospital Environment in Kinshasa

Author(s): Bukasa Kizito Deo gratias, Kayembe Lubeji David, Kelekele Kendjapa Joseph-Théodore, Kabedi Ngoy Nelly, Nsambayi Lukusa Delux, Gini Ambunga Yannick.

Context: Sickle cell disease is a widespread disease throughout the world with 2.3% of the world's population. The DRC being the 2nd country in Africa and the 3rd in the world. The objective was to study the retinal lesions found in SS sickle cell patients, which is the form found in the DRC.

Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional multicenter study was conducted from December 2021 to March 2022 at the University Clinics of Kinshasa. The study looked for retinal lesions in homozygous sickle cell patients over the age of 15. A complete ophthalmological examination was carried out, including a direct fundus examination after pupil dilation. Optical coherence tomography was performed when needed.

Results: 55 patients (110 eyes) were seen during the study period. The mean age of these patients was 20.6 ± 7.1 years. The female gender predominated with 50.9% with a sex ratio of 0.96. Blurred vision was the most common eye complaint at 23.6%. Visual impairment and blindness were found respectively in 2.7% and 0.9%. Retinal lesions were found in 29 eyes or 26.3%. These lesions were: Vascular tortuosity in 17.3%; peripheral retinal pallor in 3.6%; Solar black spots in 2.7%; salmon hemorrhage, RCAO, peripheral arteriolar occlusion, proliferative sickle cell retinopathy in one eye each.

Conclusion: Retinal lesions of sickle cell disease are quite common and should be sought regularly in patients with sickle cell disease.

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