Vitamin A and the eye: an old tale for modern times

Arq Bras Oftalmol. 2016 Feb;79(1):56-61. doi: 10.5935/0004-2749.20160018.


Clinical presentations associated with vitamin A deficiency persist in poor regions globally with the same clinical features as those described centuries ago. However, new forms of vitamin A deficiency affecting the eyes, which have become widespread, as a result of modern societal habits are of increasing concern. Ophthalmic conditions related to vitamin A deficiency require the combined attention of ophthalmologists, pediatricians, internists, dermatologists, and nutritionists due to their potential severity and the diversity of causes. As the eyes and their adnexa are particularly sensitive to vitamin A deficiency and excess, ocular disturbances are often early indicators of vitamin A imbalance. The present review describes the clinical manifestations of hypovitaminosis A with an emphasis on so-called modern dietary disorders and multidisciplinary treatment approaches. The present review also discusses the relationship between retinoic acid therapy and dry eye disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / etiology
  • Aged
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Eye Diseases / etiology*
  • Eye Diseases / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Vitamin A / adverse effects
  • Vitamin A / blood
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / complications*
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • Vitamin A