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Sickle Cell Anemia and the Eyes

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source: Sickle Cell Anemia News


Sickle cell anemia is a heritable disease caused by a mutation in the gene that provides instructions for the production of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to tissues and organs. The sickle cell mutation causes the red blood cells to deform into a sickle shape. These deformed blood cells cannot travel through blood vessels as well as normal cells and are also more likely to form clots.

Eye Disease in Sickle Cell Anemia

Eye disease in sickle cell anemia patients can be divided broadly into two conditions: anterior eye disease and posterior eye disease. Anterior eye disease involves the chamber of the eye, while posterior eye disease involves the retina, optic nerve, and the subretinal tissues, the system of blood vessels and cells that provide nutrients to the retina.

Current research indicates that early problems can be seen in the eye prior to vision problems. A dilated eye test can be used to determine whether these issues are present and evaluate if treatments are working to reduce or prevent vision problems.


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