Sickle cell maculopathy: Identification of systemic risk factors, and microstructural analysis of individual retinal layers of the macula

Laura Dell’Arti, Giulio Barteselli, Lorenzo Riva, Elisa Carini, Giovanna Graziadei, Eleonora Benatti, Alessandro Invernizzi, Maria D. Cappellini, Francesco Viola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose To identify systemic risk factors for sickle cell maculopathy, and to analyze the microstruc-ture of the macula of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) patients by using automated segmentation of individual retinal layers. Methods Thirty consecutive patients with SCD and 30 matched controls underwent spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD- OCT) and automated thickness measurement for each retinal layer; thicknesses for SCD patients were then compared to normal controls. Demographic data, systemic data, and lab results were collected for each SCD patient; multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify potential risk factors for sickle cell maculopathy. Results Ongoing chelation treatment (p = 0.0187) was the most predictive factor for the presence of sickle cell maculopathy; the odds were 94.2% lower when chelation was present. HbF level tended to influence sickle cell maculopathy (p = 0.0775); the odds decreased by 12.9% when HbF increased by 1%. Sickle cell maculopathy was detected in 43% of SCD patients as patchy areas of retinal thinning on SD- OCT thickness map, mostly located temporally to the macula, especially in eyes with more advanced forms of sickle cell retinopathy (p = 0.003). In comparison to controls, SCD patients had a subtle thinning of the overall macula and temporal retina compared to controls (most p<0.0001), involving inner and outer retinal layers. Thickening of the retinal pigment epithelium was also detected in SCD eyes (p<0.0001). Conclusions Chronic chelation therapy and, potentially, high levels of HbF are possible protective factors for the presence of sickle cell maculopathy, especially for patients with more advanced forms of sickle cell retinopathy. A subtle thinning of the overall macula occurs in SCD patients and involves multiple retinal layers, suggesting that ischemic vasculopathy May happen in both superficial and deep capillary plexi. Thinning of the outer retinal layers suggests that an ischemic insult of the choriocapillaris May also occur in SCD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0193582
JournalPLoS One
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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