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Sickle Cell Disease: Vision Problems

Topic Overview

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 checkups.footnote 1And get routine eye examinations as an adult. Try to go to a doctor who specializes in eye problems (ophthalmologist).

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Community Paediatrics Committee, Canadian Paediatric Society (2009, reaffirmed 2016). Vision screening in infants, children and youth. Paediatrics and Child Health, 14(4): 246–248. http://www.cps.ca/en/documents/position/children-vision-screening. Accessed March 10, 2017.

Credits

Current as ofMarch 28, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Martin H. Steinberg, MD - Hematology

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