Xerophthalmia means dryness of the eye in which eye fails to produce tears. It is found in people with immune disorders. It may be caused by a deficiency in Vitamin A xerophthalmia leads to be long term infection. Xerophthalmia is associated with aging, scarring from previous injury, poor lid closure or autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Xerophthalmia is most preventable cause of blindness in children at the age of 3 to 6 years. Approximate 8 to10 million children in worldwide affected by this disease. It can also occur in adults with severe malnutrition or from other health problem like diet is a factor or lack of vitamin. If it is untreated then it leads to eventually blindness and corneal ulceration.
Causes of Xerophthalmia: The most common cause of Xerophthalmia is vitamin A or lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also caused by usage medications such as nasal decongestants, tranquilizers, antihistamines and drugs. Some chemical burns also cause the disease. Thickness and dryness caused due to trauma, local disease, diarrhea (especially chronic diarrhea), and infections and from previous injury of cornea.
Symptoms of xerophthalmia: The earliest symptoms of Xerophthalmia include mild irritation, hot discomfort, Bitot’s spot, corneal xerosis and a desire to blink continuously. There are some common symptoms of xerophthalmia are:
Night blindness: The night blindness is first symptoms of vitamin A deficiency. It means unable to see the object in the evening, during night or in dim light.
Conjunctival xerosis: This means dryness of the conjunctiva eye become dry and non wettable.
Bitot’s spots: Bitot’s spots are foamy triangular spots that are pearly or yellow in color which is seen either the cause of cornea.
Corneal xerosis: This is a serious form of vitamin A deficiency. In this cornea becomes dry, opaque, dull and non wettable.
Keratomalacia: If vitamin A deficiency is untreated then this condition is called keratomalacia. In this the eye can be lost, eye collapses, and vision is lost. keratomalacia are the leading causes of blindness.
Precaution from Xerophthalmia: The prevention of xerophthalmia intake of vitamin A by fortification of food items such as in cooking oil, sugar tea, addition of vitamin A, skimmed milk etc. Eat dark green leafy vegetables, pork, fish liver, beef and other livers, mango, papaya, eggs, butter, broccoli and apricots and drink lot of plenty water. The World Health Organization has made short and medium term plan for preventing which include all the education about the importance of vitamin A. Drinking carrot juice and intake of two tablespoons of cod liver oil every day.
Treatment of Xerophthalmia: We cannot ignore the treatment of Xerophthalmia if we ignore that it becomes to blindness. An ophthalmologist can detect this disease. Antibiotic ointments are also prescribed by doctor to control the secondary infection and the treatment consists of supplementation of vitamin A. Tell all history of Xerophthalmia to your doctor.