(Xerotic Keratitis; Xerophthalmia)
Vitamin A deficiency can lead to corneal ulcers and bacterial infections.
Vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness (poor vision in the dark).
Doctors diagnose keratomalacia based on the appearance of the person's cornea.
Treatment includes correcting the vitamin A deficiency with an improved diet or supplements and using antibiotic eye drops or ointments for any infection.
(See also Introduction to Corneal Disorders.)
The surface of the conjunctiva (the membrane that lines the eyelids and covers the white of the eye) and cornea dries, sometimes leading to corneal ulcers and bacterial infections. The tear glands are also affected, resulting in an inadequate tear film and dry eyes. People with extreme eye dryness can develop foamy spots (Bitot spots) on the conjunctiva. Night blindness (poor vision in the dark) may develop because of the effects of vitamin A deficiency on the retina.