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March 1990

Corneal Perforation in Patients With Vitamin A Deficiency in the United States

Author Affiliations

From the Oculoplastic (Dr Bedrossian) and Cornea (Dr Laibson) Services and the Department of Pathology (Drs Eagle and Laibson), Wills Eye Hospital (Dr Suan), Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pa.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1990;108(3):350-353. doi:10.1001/archopht.1990.01070050048028

• An emaciated alcoholic 52-year-old white woman presented with an old left corneal perforation and bilateral conjunctival and corneal xerosis. The serum vitamin A level was 0 μmol/L. Laboratory and radiologic findings were consistent with the diagnosis of a fat malabsorptive syndrome secondary to chronic alcoholic pancreatitis. Histopathologic evaluation of her enucleated globe revealed conjunctival epidermidalization, corneal perforation with prolapse and loss of intraocular contents, retinal detachment, and massive choroidal hemorrhage. A second patient presented with bilateral conjunctival xerosis, corneal ulcers, and a low serum vitamin A level. Corneal perforation of one ulcer ensued during her hospitalization. Medical investigation revealed hepatic metastases of an unknown primary source. Causes of vitamin A deficiency and its ocular complications as well as medical and surgical management options are discussed.