Wide-field imaging of sickle retinopathy

Marguerite O. Linz, Adrienne W. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Wide-field imaging is a newer retinal imaging technology, capturing up to 200 degrees of the retina in a single photograph. Individuals with sickle cell retinopathy commonly exhibit peripheral retinal ischemia. Patients with proliferative sickle cell retinopathy develop pathologic retinal neovascularization of the peripheral retina which may progress into sight-threatening sequelae of vitreous hemorrhage and/or retinal detachment. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of current and future applications of wide-field retinal imaging for sickle cell retinopathy, and recommend indications for best use. Main body: There are several advantages to wide-field imaging in the clinical management of sickle cell disease patients. Retrospective and prospective studies support the success of wide-field imaging in detecting more sickle cell induced retinal microvascular abnormalities than traditional non-wide-field imaging. Clinicians can easily capture a greater extent of the retinal periphery in a patient's clinical baseline imaging to follow the changes at an earlier point and determine the rate of progression over time. Wide-field imaging minimizes patient and photographer burden, necessitating less photos and technical skill to capture the peripheral retina. Minimizing the number of necessary images can be especially helpful for pediatric patients with sickle cell retinopathy. Wide-field imaging has already been successful in identifying new biomarkers and risk factors for the development of proliferative sickle cell retinopathy. While these advantages should be considered, clinicians need to perform a careful risk-benefit analysis before ordering this test. Although wide-field fluorescein angiography successfully detects additional pathologic abnormalities compared to traditional imaging, a recent research study suggests that peripheral changes differentially detected by wide-field imaging may not change clinical management for most sickle cell patients. Conclusions: While wide-field imaging may not carry a clinically significant direct benefit to all patients, it shows future promise in expanding our knowledge of sickle cell retinopathy. Clinicians may monitor peripheral retinal pathology such as retinal ischemia and retinal neovascularization over progressive time points, and use sequential wide-field retinal images to monitor response to treatment. Future applications for wide-field imaging may include providing data to facilitate machine learning, and potential use in tele-ophthalmology screening for proliferative sickle retinopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number27
JournalInternational Journal of Retina and Vitreous
StatePublished - Dec 12 2019


  • 7-standard fields
  • Fluorescein angiography
  • Fundus photography
  • Proliferative
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Sickle cell retinopathy
  • UWF-FA
  • UWFF
  • Ultra wide-field imaging
  • Wide-field imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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