Xerophthalmia is a collection of signs and symptoms that affect the eyes and have the potential to lead to blindness.
About 254 million children have vitamin A insufficiency, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), while about 2.8 million children have xerophthalmia. There are around 350,000 new cases each year, making it the leading cause of blindness in children.
Eye problems are only one of the many symptoms of vitamin A insufficiency. Xerophthalmia has two causes. One possible cause is a lack of vitamin A in the diet, which is more common in developing countries. Second, unrelated to vitamin A consumption. Abnormalities in vitamin A metabolism and storage, such as chronic liver illness, can produce this condition on rare occasions.
The following are some of the signs and symptoms of xerophthalmia, listed in the order they usually happen:
Xerophthalmia is diagnosed by observing the symptoms and correlating them to the patient's medical history.
A serum Vitamin A test can verify the diagnosis of xerophthalmia. Night vision problems could be identified with the help of dark adaptometry and night vision threshold testing.
Electroretinogram and impression cytology are two more tests that can aid in making the diagnosis.
Vitamin A should be given orally in increments of 200,000 IU, as recommended by the WHO.
Topical antibiotics are used in cases of subsequent bacterial infection, such as preservative-free artificial tears and antibiotic eye drops.
Dietary Vitamin A deficiency can be treated in three ways, nutritional supplements, rehabilitation, and education.
In cases of xerophthalmia that are not caused by poor nutrition, underlying disorders such as liver diseases and inflammatory bowel disease must be treated.
Adequate vitamin A intake is the most effective preventative measure against xerophthalmia. Vitamin A can be found in these foods:
Feroze KB, Kaufman EJ. Xerophthalmia. [Updated 2022 Apr 21]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK431094/
Cleveland Clinic (2022). Xerophthalmia. Retrieved December 23, 2022, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/24430-xerophthalmia