Incidence of low vitamin A levels and ocular symptoms after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass

Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2010 Nov-Dec;6(6):653-7. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2010.02.044. Epub 2010 Mar 2.


Background: Previous reports have demonstrated a significant incidence of fat-soluble vitamin deficiency after bariatric surgery. The purpose of the present study was to determine the incidence of vitamin A deficiency after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and to correlate the laboratory findings with ocular symptoms potentially related to vitamin A deficiency.

Methods: All patients who had undergone Roux-en-Y gastric bypass were invited to participate in a nutritional screening. The patients completed a detailed survey concerning ocular symptoms and had their vitamin A level evaluated.

Results: A low vitamin A level was identified in 7 (11%) of 64 RYBG patients. Ocular xerosis was present in 18 patients (27%), with night vision changes reported in 45 (68%). Visual disturbances were present in 7 patients (11%) found to have low vitamin A levels, with hypovitaminosis A present in 22% of patients with xerosis (P <.05).

Conclusion: Low vitamin A levels and frequent ocular complaints that might be associated with decreased vitamin A are common findings in the post-RYBG patient population. Additional study is needed to assess the role of routine vitamin A screening and replacement in the postbariatric surgery patient.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Eye / metabolism
  • Eye / pathology*
  • Eye Diseases / blood
  • Eye Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Eye Pain / blood
  • Eye Pain / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Gastric Bypass / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Night Blindness / blood
  • Night Blindness / epidemiology
  • Nutritional Status
  • Postoperative Complications / blood
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Vitamin A / blood*
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Xerophthalmia / blood
  • Xerophthalmia / epidemiology


  • Vitamin A