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Introduction: Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is an inherited haemolytic disorder that affects virtually all body systems including the eye. Ocular complications of SCD could have dire consequences if not detected early.
Objectives: We aimed at determining the prevalence of ocular complications of SCD in our patients.
Methods: This study was carried out on patients attending both the adult and Paediatric Sickle cell disease clinic at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital, Akwa, Anambra State, Nigeria, over an 8 month period. A structured questionnaire was administered to consenting patients to determine their sociodemographic variables and other characteristics. Visual acuity was determined with multiple optotype Snellen’s chart at 6 metres in natural daylight. Using pen-torch, the face, external eye examination, anterior segment examination and pupillary reaction to light were assessed. Magnified anterior segment examination was performed with slit-lamp biomicroscope. All subjects underwent dilated fundoscopy (after instillation of tropicamide 0.5% eye drop) using Welch Allyn indirect ophthalmoscope. Results were analysed using SPSS version 22.0 Inc Chicago Illinois and represented in tables. Statistically significant P value was set at < 0.05.
Results: A total of 28 patients with age range of 6-42 years were seen. 17 (60.7%) were males, while 11 (39.3%) were females. 8 (28.6%) had at least one ocular anomaly comprising of refractory errors 3 (10.8%), sickle cell retinopathy 4 (14.3%) and glaucoma 2 (7.1%). Only 2 (7.1%) routinely visit eye clinic. SCD retinopathy was found to increase with age (P value= 0.005).
Conclusion: SCD retinopathy was found more in the older age group despite the small sample size at a prevalence rate of 14.3%. Early initiation of routine ocular examination for SCD patients will be beneficial to avert these complications. More efforts should be made at educating the patients. Larger studies will be required to determine the actual prevalence of ocular anomaly in SCD patients in Anambra State.
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