Vitamin A is one of the important vitamins which our body needs in sufficient amounts. If body does not get enough amounts of vitamin A, it starts producing some diseases. Read further to know which diseases are caused due to vitamin A deficiency.
The signs of vitamin A deficiency are predominantly related to the eye. These eye diseases are nightblindness, conjunctival xerosis, bitot’s spots, corneal xerosis and keratomalacia. The term xeropthalmia is used to cover all these manifestations. In nightblindness, there is dimness of vision in dim light.
It is due to impairment in dark adaptation. Vitamin A helps in production of retinal pigments which are required for night vision. So its deficiency leads to night blindness.
Conjunctival xerosis is the first clinical sign of vitamin A deficiency. The conjunctiva becomes dry, looks muddy and wrinkled. It loses its smooth and shiny look. This is because vitamin A helps in maintaining the integrity of epithelial tissue which lines important organs, skin and eyes.
Along with conjunctiva, the cornea which is the black part of the eye also becomes dry. This is called as corneal xerosis. It appears dull and opaque. In severe cases, even corneal ulceration can take place. Corneal ulcers can affect vision.
Bitot’s spot are triangular, pearly white or yellowish spots on the bulbar conjunctivita which are present on the white part of the eye. They are usually bilateral. They affect cosmetic appearance of the eyes. Keratomalacia is grave medical emergency. In this disease, there is liquefaction of the cornea.
The cornea becomes soft and bursts open. It is a rapid process and if the eye collapses then vision is lost forever. It occurs in severe vitamin A deficiency.
Other manifestations occur on the skin and general growth. There is thickening of skin in front of the thigh and elbow. This is also called as follicular hyperkeratosis. Anorexia and growth retardation are other manifestations.
Keratinisation of all the epithelial tissues of organs can also occur in vitamin A deficiency. Fortunately all these diseases except keratomalacia can be easily cured with administration of vitamin A in the right amount. So eat vitamin A rich foods every day and prevent Vitamin A deficiency diseases