Xerophthalmia and cystic fibrosis

Arch Ophthalmol. 1990 Mar;108(3):354-7. 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.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / diagnosis
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy
  • Diterpenes
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / complications
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Retinyl Esters
  • Vitamin A / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin A / metabolism
  • Vitamin A / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / metabolism
  • Xerophthalmia / complications*
  • Xerophthalmia / metabolism


  • Diterpenes
  • Retinyl Esters
  • Vitamin A
  • retinol palmitate