The study was done to describe the ophthalmologic findings on the largest cohort of patients with sialidosis type I due to deficiency of the lysosomal sialidase, NEU1 and to introduce a quantitative neuroretinal image analysis approach to the associated ‘macular cherry-red spot’.

All patients had a macular cherry-red spot, clear corneas and visually non-significant lenticular opacities. The mean visual acuity was LogMar 0.4 (20/50)+0.4 (20/20 to 20/125). Six patients had good visual function. Optic atrophy was present in two individuals with reduced acuity. A significant increase in macular reflectivity was present in all patients compared to age-matched controls (p<0.0001).

The study concluded that 75% of our patients have preserved visual acuity, even in adulthood. The presence of optic atrophy is associated with poor visual acuity. Increased macular reflectivity by OCT greyscale measurements is noted in all patients, although the underlying biological basis is unknown. These findings complement the current methods for examining and monitoring disease progression, especially in patients for whom visualisation of the cherry-red spot is not entirely clear.