Serial retinal examinations were performed in children aged 5 years and older and fluorescein angiography/angioscopy in children 6 years and older participating in a cohort study of sickle cell disease. There were 1229 patient years of observation among 389 children aged 5-13 years. Peripheral retinal vessel closure was present in approximately 50% of children with SS and SC genotypes at age 6 years and increased to affect 90% of children by age 12 years. A matched pair analysis, comparing groups with minimal and complete closure, indicated that complete closure was associated with significantly lower total haemoglobin and fetal haemoglobin levels and significantly lower weight in SS disease, whereas in SC disease the risk factors appeared to be high mean cell volume and low platelet count. Proliferative retinopathy was rare, occurring only once in an 8-year-old boy with SC disease, despite 592 patient years of observation in children over this age.
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