People who have
sickle cell disease can sometimes have vision
problems. Blood cells that change shape, or "sickle," can get trapped in blood
vessels, blocking the blood flow. When this blockage occurs in the small blood
vessels in the inner lining (retina) of the eyes, it can cause
vision problems. This most often occurs in people who have hemoglobin SC
disease, a type of sickle cell disease.
In the worst cases, the
retina may come loose, leading to permanent blindness.
This may happen suddenly, without any warning.
Early detection can
help prevent these problems. Have your child's eyes checked during the newborn
period and again at all routine well-child visits.1
And get routine eye exams as an adult. Try to go to a doctor who specializes in
eye problems (ophthalmologist).
American Academy of Pediatrics, et al. (2003,
reaffirmed 2007). Policy statement: Eye examination in infants, children, and
young adults by pediatricians. Pediatrics, 111(4):
October 1, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Martin Steinberg, MD - Hematology
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