The purpose of this study was to determine whether there are differences in choroidal thickness in children with beta thalassemia major (β-TM).
Thirty-five patients with β-TM and 38 healthy children aged between 3 and 16 years participated in the study. After complete eye examinations were conducted on the participants, choroidal thickness measurements were performed using optical coherence tomography. Correlations between choroidal thickness and laboratory and clinical parameters, such as age, sex, hemoglobin and ferritin levels, duration of disease, type and duration of chelating therapy, visual acuity, intraocular pressure, central corneal thickness, and axial length were also evaluated.
The mean ages for the study group and for the control group were 8.2 ± 2.7 and 7.9 ± 2.4 years, respectively. There were no statistical differences between groups in terms of visual acuity, intraocular pressure, central corneal thickness, or axial length (p > 0.05). Choroidal thicknesses at the foveal center were 286 ± 33 μm in β-TM patients and 335 ± 423 μm in the healthy control children. Choroidal thicknesses at each point within the horizontal nasal and temporal quadrants were thinner in the β-TM group. There was a positive correlation between choroidal thickness and hemoglobin levels and a negative correlation between choroidal thickness and ferritin levels (r = 0.924, p < 0.001 and r = -0.947, p < 0.001, respectively). There was no correlation between clinical or ocular characteristics and choroidal thickness.
Choroidal thickness was significantly thinner in all quadrants in children with β-TM. This thinning of the choroid may be the reason for the development of eye disorders in older patients with β-TM.