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Keratomalacia Information

Keratomalacia is an eye (ocular) condition, usually affecting both eyes (bilateral), that results from severe deficiency of vitamin A. It is an extremely grave subtype of collagenolysis often found with Bacillus cereus infections. Early symptoms may include poor vision at night or in dim light (night blindness) and extreme dryness of the eyes (i.e., xerophthalmia), followed by wrinkling, progressive cloudiness, and increasing softening of the corneas. Keratomalacia is the major cause of paediatric ocular morbidity and severe visual impairment in developing countries. Keratomalacia is hastened by protein-caloric malnutrition, and can be precipitated by a systemic illness such as measles, pneumonia or diarrhoea. In some developing countries, vitamin A deficiency in the diet and associated keratomalacia are a major cause of childhood blindness. In addition, in some cases, vitamin A deficiency may have additional effects, particularly during infancy and childhood. Antibiotic eye drops or ointments can help cure an infection, but correcting the vitamin A deficiency and malnutrition with an improved diet or supplements is also important.

Causes of Keratomalacia

The common causes and risk factor's of Keratomalacia include the following:

  • Vitamin A deficiency and protein-calorie malnutrition.

Symptoms of Keratomalacia

Some sign and symptoms related to Keratomalacia are as follows:

  • Poor vision at night or in dim light (night blindness).
  • Extreme dryness of the eyes, followed by wrinkling, progressive cloudiness, and increasing softening of the corneas.
  • Foamy spots appear on the temporal and often nasal bulbar conjunctiva (Bitot's spots).
  • The eyeball may be shrunken (phthisis bulbi) or show anterior bulging.

Treatment of Keratomalacia

Here is list of the methods for treating Keratomalacia:

  • Diet supplements rich in vitamin A or beta-carotene should be provided in high risk areas to prevent the condition.
  • Topical antibiotics are given to prevent secondary bacterial infection.


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