PURPOSE: To determine whether ultra-widefield (UWF) retinal imaging changes the staging or management of sickle cell retinopathy compared with clinical examination. METHODS: Prospective, observational study including patients with sickle cell disease. All patients underwent dilated fundus examination by a fellowship-trained retina specialist, as well as UWF fundus photography (FF) and fluorescein angiography (FA). Sickle retinopathy stage and treatment recommendation per eye were determined after clinical examination, UWF-FF, and UWF-FA, respectively, and differences in retinopathy stage and treatment recommendation were compared. RESULTS: A total of 70 eyes from 35 patients (17 women, 48.6%), mean age 30.4 years, were included. Sickle genotypes included 26 patients with sickle SS (74.3%), 7 SC (20.0%), and 2 β(+)thalassemia (5.7%). Based on examination, most eyes (42/70; 60.0%) had no visible retinopathy. Based on UWF-FF, about half of the eyes were found to be Goldberg Stage 2 or above (36/70; 51.4%). Based on UWF-FA, nearly all eyes were Goldberg Stage 2 or above (63/70; 90%). However, clinical examination reliably detected neovascularization, and in no case did the addition of UWF imaging change management relative to examination alone. CONCLUSION: Ultra-widefield imaging detects a higher stage of sickle cell retinopathy compared with clinical examination alone, but these differences may not be clinically significant.
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