Vitamin A Deficiency Presenting with 'Itchy Eyes'

Case Rep Ophthalmol. 2015 Dec 3;6(3):427-34. doi: 10.1159/000441969. eCollection Sep-Dec 2015.


We present the case of an 88-year-old female living in metropolitan Melbourne, Australia who developed vitamin A deficiency manifesting as 'itchy eyes' due to a bizarre dietary habit. Slit lamp examination revealed Bitot's spots and a subsequent vitamin A serum level test revealed severe deficiency. An electroretinogram showed grossly reduced a- and b-wave amplitudes consistent with generalised rod and cone dysfunction - these parameters showed marked improvement 5 months post supplementation. This case highlights the presence of vitamin A deficiency in the developed world and that a careful dietary history should be taken when assessing a patient complaining of 'itchy eyes'. Timely diagnosis and treatment may result in dramatic resolution of symptoms and signs as well as prevention of serious morbidity.

Keywords: Bitot's spots; Electroretinogram; Hypovitaminosis A; Nyctalopia; Xerophthalmia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports