Xerophthalmia

Xerophthalmia

[zeer-of-thal-mee-uh, -op-]
Xerophthalmia (Greek for dry eyes) is a medical condition in which the eye fails to produce tears. It may be caused by a deficiency in vitamin A and is sometimes used to describe that lack, although there may be other causes.

Xerophthalmia is a term that usually implies a destructive dryness of the conjunctival epithelium due to dietary vitamin A deficiency — a rare condition in developed countries, but still causing much damage in developing countries. Other forms of dry eye are associated with aging, poor lid closure, scarring from previous injury, or autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, and these can all cause chronic conjunctivitis. Radioiodine therapy can also induce xerophthalmia, often transiently, although in some patients late onset or persistent xerophthalmia has been observed .

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