Spontaneous central retinal artery occlusion in hemoglobin sickle cell disease

Am J Ophthalmol. 2000 May;129(5):680-1. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(00)00361-5.


Purpose: To describe a case of spontaneous central retinal artery occlusion in a young man with hemoglobin sickle cell disease.

Method: Case report.

Results: A 31-year-old African-American man with a history of hemoglobin sickle cell disease developed sudden painless loss of vision in the right eye. Medical history was remarkable for the recent history of a mild painful crisis, but no other systemic illness or contributing factors. Central retinal artery occlusion was diagnosed with retinal whitening, cherry red spot, and delayed arteriovenous transit on fluorescein angiography. Over the ensuing week, the patient had visual recovery to 20/60 in the absence of therapeutic intervention.

Conclusion: Central retinal artery occlusion has been reported in sickle cell hemoglobinopathies (ie, SS, S-thal, sickle trait, and sickle cell), but the association with sickle cell disease is rare. Most reports have described additional contributing factors, such as trauma or concomitant systemic illness, to help account for the central retinal artery occlusion. The present case suggests that sickle cell disease alone is sufficient for the development of central retinal artery occlusion.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / complications*
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / pathology
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retinal Artery / pathology
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / etiology*
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / pathology