Xerophthalmia in Children: Prevention and Early Intervention
Xerophthalmia is a typically progressive eye disease that is most commonly found in children. If this condition is left untreated, it can eventually progress to form spots on your eyes, thereby causing night blindness. Furthermore, it can potentially damage your eye’s cornea and pave the way for permanent blindness.
This disease is most commonly seen among people in developing countries where people experience malnutrition. A lack of Vitamin A can dry up your eyes and tear ducts. But with a reverse therapy of Vitamin A, the condition of Xerophthalmia can be removed permanently.
This article will give you informative insights into the prevention and early intervention of Xerophthalmia in children. But before that, we will quickly run you through this condition’s most prominent causes and symptoms. Let’s get started.
Signs and Symptoms of Xerophthalmia
While xerophthalmia is a progressive disease, it usually begins with eye dryness. And if left untreated, the condition eventually worsens. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of Xerophthalmia that you will gradually notice are:
Nyctalopia or Night Blindness
Night blindness is a typical condition where one cannot see clearly at night. Sometimes, poor lighting at movie theatres and restaurants might also be troublesome. In fact, adjusting to gradual light changes is also problematic.
This condition in Xerophthalmia occurs when your conjunctiva dries out excessively.
You will notice foamy silver-grey triangular spots that unusually appear on the white portion of your eyes.
This condition is where your cornea entirely dries out.
You will notice sores and holes in your cornea.
Here, your cornea becomes unexceptionally soft and cloudy, which can also produce scars.
At this stage of Xerophthalmia, your retina develops lesions and can also change in structure.
Causes of Xerophthalmia
You will already know that a considerable deficiency of Vitamin A causes xerophthalmia. Vitamin A plays a pivotal role in enhancing your vision in two significant ways – moisture and pigment production.
Our eyes need Vitamin A to produce moisture so that they can keep the corneas properly lubricated. If your corneas become too dry, then they become too vulnerable to damage. And this eventually paves the way for blindness.
On the other hand, our eyes require Vitamin A for formulating certain pigments to make the retinas function properly. A deficiency of Vitamin A can deliberately hinder your eye’s capability to produce these beneficial pigments. Thus, you might end up having night blindness.
Your healthcare provider might use several methods for diagnosing whether or not you’ve been diagnosed with Xerophthalmia. Some of the most common diagnosing methods are:
Your doctor will note your medical history, regular food intake, and habits.
Your healthcare professional might thoroughly examine your eyes and determine Xeropthalmia.
A blood test will help determine the amount of Vitamin A in your blood.
Your doctor will assess the signs and symptoms that have been potentially affecting your eyes.
It is used for testing specimens from the conjunctiva for any disease present on the surface of the eye.
Dark Adaptation Testing and Night Vision Tests
These tests are used to determine how well you are capable of seeing in dim and dark light. It will also detect how long your eye takes to get used to the dark.
This test typically determines how your eyes respond to light.
How to Prevent Xerophthalmia?
The finest way to avoid Xerophthalmia is to incorporate adequate Vitamin A within your diet. Some food items that will provide Vitamin A to your body are:
- Orange and yellow fruits like oranges, papayas, lemons, etc.
- Fresh and dark green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach.
- Egg yolk
- Fish-liver oil, etc.
How to Treat Xerophthalmia?
Your healthcare provider will first recommend Vitamin A supplements and elevate your intake of Vitamin A within your diet. And if you have an eye infection, they might also suggest you adhere to topical antibiotics and use artificial tears. This will gradually help in improving your eyes and make your eyesight better.
In this developing world, lack of Vitamin A and Xerophthalmia continues to remain significant health problems. However, including green leafy vegetables and animal products within your diet is the key to combating this condition.
If your child is at risk for Vitamin A deficiency, talk to the Apollo Hospitals healthcare professionals. These professional experts will guide you with the most appropriate Vitamin A supplements and diet that will diminish the risks of Xerophthalmia. So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with the experts now!