THREE cases of xerophthalmia, an almost forgotten ocular disease in the United States, have been observed at the University of California Hospital eye clinic in the last five years. Two of the three resulted from antiallergenic diets; the third followed a congenital bile duct obstruction. In each case recognition of the characteristic eye lesions led to early diagnosis and to the successful treatment of the avitaminosis. In addition, two adult cases of vitamin A deficiency resulting from low vitamin intake in chronic alcoholism and one case in a 15-year-old boy with malnutrition were recognized from the presence of Bitot's spots.
Some of the terms used in connection with this disease have been variously interpreted; to avoid confusion, they will be defined according to their use in the ensuing discussion, as follows:
Xerophthalmia is the general term applied to a pure vitamin A deficiency disease of the eye characterized in its
VAUGHAN DG. XEROPHTHALMIA. AMA Arch Ophthalmol. 1954;51(6):789-798. doi:10.1001/archopht.1954.00920040799006