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Xerophthalmia

Marked conjunctival and corneal xerosis. The entire bulbar conjunctiva is dry and thickened and almost skinlike. (Sommer A, Sugana T, Djunaedi E, Green R: Vitamin A-responsive panocular xerophthalmia in a healthy adult. Arch Ophthalmol 96:1630, 1978)

Marked conjunctival and corneal xerosis. The entire bulbar conjunctiva is dry and thickened and almost skinlike. (Sommer A, Sugana T, Djunaedi E, Green R: Vitamin A-responsive panocular xerophthalmia in a healthy adult. Arch Ophthalmol 96:1630, 1978)

What Is Xerophthalmia?

Xerophthalmia is a serious condition of extreme drying and thickening of the conjunctiva following chronic inflammation and failure to make tears, characterized by hazy, dry cornea.

Vitamin A is obtained from the diet and is required in the cornea for maintaining epithelial (surface cell) health.1

Xerophthalmia is most often associated with malnutrition involving chronic, severe vitamin A deficiency and may develop from chronic liver disease, intestinal disorders such as celiac disease, pancreatitis, and extensive bowel surgery that cause malabsorption.

It may also develop in autoimmune diseases such as Sjogrens syndrome.

Q: What is the prognosis for xerophthalmia?

A: Xerophthalmia has the potential to rapidly advance to corneal necrosis (keratomalacia) and blindness.

What Is Xerophthalmia In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?


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  1. Alwitry A. Vitamin A deficiency in coeliac disease. Br J Ophthalmol. 2000 September; 84(9): 1075. doi:  10.1136/bjo.84.9.1075e 

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