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    Keratomalacia

    Important
    It is possible that the main title of the report Keratomalacia is not the name you expected.

    Disorder Subdivisions

    • None

    General Discussion

    Keratomalacia is an eye (ocular) condition, usually affecting both eyes (bilateral), that results from severe deficiency of vitamin A. That deficiency may be dietary (i.e., intake) or metabolic (i.e., absorption). Vitamin A is essential for normal vision as well as proper bone growth, healthy skin, and protection of the mucous membranes of the digestive, respiratory, and urinary tracts against infection.

    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 (i.e., keratomalacia). With advancing vitamin A deficiency, dry, "foamy," silver-gray deposits (Bitot spots) may appear on the delicate membranes covering the whites of the eyes. Without adequate treatment, increasing softening of the corneas may lead to corneal infection, rupture (perforation), and degenerative tissue changes, resulting in blindness. In addition, in some cases, vitamin A deficiency may have additional effects, particularly during infancy and childhood.

    In some developing countries, vitamin A deficiency in the diet and associated keratomalacia are a major cause of childhood blindness. In such regions, vitamin A deficiency often occurs as part of nonselective general malnutrition in infants and young children. Although rare in developed countries, vitamin A deficiency and keratomalacia may occur secondary to conditions associated with impaired absorption, storage, or transport of vitamin A, such as celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, cystic fibrosis, liver disease, or intestinal bypass surgery and any condition that affects absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

    Resources

    Lighthouse International
    111 E 59th St
    New York, NY 10022-1202
    Tel: (800)829-0500
    Email: info@lighthouse.org
    Internet: http://www.lighthouse.org

    Prevent Blindness America
    211 West Wacker Drive
    Suite 1700
    Chicago, IL 60606
    Tel: (312)363-6001
    Fax: (312)363-6052
    Tel: (800)331-2020
    Email: info@preventblindness.org
    Internet: http://www.preventblindness.org

    NIH/National Eye Institute
    31 Center Dr
    MSC 2510
    Bethesda, MD 20892-2510
    United States
    Tel: (301)496-5248
    Fax: (301)402-1065
    Email: 2020@nei.nih.gov
    Internet: http://www.nei.nih.gov/

    NIH/National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney Diseases
    Office of Communications & Public Liaison
    Bldg 31, Rm 9A06
    31 Center Drive, MSC 2560
    Bethesda, MD 20892-2560
    Tel: (301)496-3583
    Email: NDDIC@info.niddk.nih.gov
    Internet: http://www2.niddk.nih.gov/

    World Health Organization (WHO)
    Avenue Appia 20
    Geneva 27, 1211
    Switzerland
    Tel: 41227912111
    Fax: 41227913111
    Internet: http://www.who.int/en/

    Blind Children's Center
    4120 Marathon Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90029-3584
    USA
    Tel: (323)664-2153
    Fax: (323)665-3828
    Tel: (800)222-3566
    Email: info@blindchildrenscenter.org
    Internet: http://www.blindchildrenscenter.org

    Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
    PO Box 8126
    Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
    Tel: (301)251-4925
    Fax: (301)251-4911
    Tel: (888)205-2311
    TDD: (888)205-3223
    Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

    For a Complete Report:

    This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

    The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

    It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

    This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

    For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

    Last Updated: 4/21/2008
    Copyright 1990, 2001, 2003 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

    WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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