Adult blindness secondary to vitamin A deficiency associated with an eating disorder

Nutrition. 2005 May;21(5):630-3. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2004.12.003.


Objective: We examined an adult patient who lost one eye due to severe keratomalacia secondary to self-induced vitamin A deficiency.

Methods: This case report provides a clinical, ophthalmologic, and laboratory description in addition to a review of the medical literature.

Results: A 33-y-old woman with a 17-y history of an eating disorder presented with bilateral conjunctival xerosis, an infected corneal ulcer in the right eye and a large descemetocele in the left eye. Laboratory and clinical findings were consistent with vitamin A deficiency. Despite a tectonic penetrating keratoplasty, her left eye perforated and had to be eviscerated. In parallel, vitamin A replacement improved her clinical status and the ocular findings in her right eye.

Conclusions: The present report indicates that vitamin A deficiency secondary to eating disorders should be considered in the differential diagnosis of patients with severe dry eye and corneal ulceration.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blindness / etiology*
  • Conjunctival Diseases / diagnosis
  • Conjunctival Diseases / etiology
  • Corneal Ulcer / diagnosis
  • Corneal Ulcer / etiology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Eye Evisceration
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamin A / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / complications*
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / diagnosis
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / drug therapy
  • Xerophthalmia / diagnosis
  • Xerophthalmia / etiology


  • Vitamin A