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March 1990

Xerophthalmia and Cystic Fibrosis

Author Affiliations

From the Vitreoretinal Foundation, Memphis, Tenn (Dr Brooks), and the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville (Dr Driebe). Dr Schemmer is in private practice in Winter Haven, Fla. Dr Brooks is now in private vitreoretinal practice in Tallahassee, Fla.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1990;108(3):354-357. doi:10.1001/archopht.1990.01070050052029

• We treated two infants with failure to thrive who presented with clinical evidence of conjunctival and corneal xerosis. One patient was referred with possible infectious corneal ulcer thought to exist because there were deep peripheral ulcerations of the cornea and associated hypopyon. The other patient was initially thought to have a nasolacrimal duct obstruction because of excessive tearing. Xerophthalmia secondary to vitamin A deficiency was suspected and led to the diagnosis and treatment of cystic fibrosis in each case. Therapy with vitamin A promptly resolved the xerosis, but it also caused a transient rise in intracerebral pressure. Xerophthalmia can still be a problem in developed countries when underlying disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, lead to vitamin A malabsorption.