Retinal photocoagulation for proliferative sickle cell retinopathy: A prospective clinical trial with new sea fan classification

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To compare the clinical outcome of stage III proliferative sickle cell retinopathy (PSR) treated by peripheral retinal scatter photocoagulation to natural course disease.


Long-term follow-up of 101 patients enrolled in a prospective trial of photocoagulation for PSR has been completed. Among 202 eyes of 101 patients enrolled at the University Eye Clinic of Créteil, 73 eyes showed a stage III PSR, which the authors further divided into five new grades (A, B, C, D, E) considering size, hemorrhage, fibrosis, and visible vessels. Grading was based on a three-mirror fundus examination, 360° color photographs, and fluorescein angiography. Mean follow-up was 4 years.


Thirty-eight treated eyes and 35 untreated eyes were included in this study. The evolution was not statistically significant between treated and untreated groups concerning flat sea fan <1 MPS disc area (grade A) or elevated sea fan with partial fibrosis (grade C). Progression and regression were compared between the two groups for grade B, resulting statistically significant (p<0.05). Nine complications (13%) were observed, which only occurred in untreated patients with elevated sea fan and hemorrhage (grade B) or complete fibrosed sea fan with well defined vessels (grade E) (p<0.05).


These data suggest that patients with grade A or C new sea fan classification should not be initially treated but observed. (Eur J Ophthalmol 2008; 18: 248–54)

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