Vitamin A Deficiency
Vitamin A deficiency is one of the major causes of preventable blindness in developing countries like India. Vitamin A is one of the essential nutrients required for the proper functioning of the eye. Vitamin A is essential not only for eye health but it also helps in proper functioning of the immune system.
The principal cause of Vitamin A deficiency is dietary insufficiency. Other less common causes include certain liver diseases causing improper absorption of fat. Also children suffering from diarrhoea, measles, respiratory infections or other diseases are at an increased risk of developing Vitamin A deficiency.
Night blindness: There is an inability or difficulty to see in dark. Night blindness is among the first Vitamin A deficiency symptoms.
Bitot’s spots: In this, initially the conjunctiva appears dry and lustreless and then there occur foamy accumulations, generally adjacent to the central black portion of the eye.
Corneal xerosis: The cornea becomes dry and if untreated, can progress to formation of ulcers on the cornea.
Keratomalacia: This a progressive stage of Vitamin A deficiency associated with corneal ulcers and perforation which may cause destruction of the cornea and lead to permanent blindness. If a child reaches this stage it warrants admission of the child with intensive nutritional care as it is an indicator of danger to the child's survival.
Xerophthalmic fundus: In this, whitish hypopigmented spots are seen on the retina.
Generally the diagnosis is based on clinical findings and requires no special tests. However estimation of serum levels of Vitamin A can be done for quantification.
The aim should be to prevent the occurrence of this in the first place, by ensuring a well balanced diet rich in Vitamin A supplements like green leafy vegetables, yellow fruits, papaya and fish which are rich sources of Vitamin A. As regards the Vitamin A deficiency treatment, the child can be given vitamin drops periodically till the age of 5 years.
A child detected with Vitamin A deficiency disease can be treated with oral or injectable Vitamin A supplements depending on the age and weight of the child. Normally the child is given the required dose on day 1, day 2 and the dose is repeated after 15 days.
If you wish to rule out Vitamin A deficiency disease in your child and are looking for an eye specialist in Mumbai, visit Advanced Eye Hospital And Institute in Navi Mumbai for treatment from one of the best eye specialist in Mumbai.