Definitions for xerophthalmiaˌzɪər ɒfˈθæl mi ə, -ɒp-
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xerophthalmia, xerophthalmus, xeroma, conjunctivitis arida(noun)
abnormal dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea of the eyes; may be due to a systemic deficiency of vitamin A
A condition due to a deficiency of vitamin A where the conjunctiva and cornea become dry. The condition starts with conjunctival xerosis and night blindness and progresses to corneal xerosis and, later, a severe condition called keratomalacia.
an abnormal dryness of the eyeball produced usually by long-continued inflammation and subsequent atrophy of the conjunctiva
Origin: [L., fr. Gr. ; xhro`s dry + the eye. See Ophthalmia.]
Xerophthalmia is a medical condition in which the eye fails to produce tears. It may be caused by a deficiency in vitamin A and is sometimes used to describe that lack, although there may be other causes. Xerophthalmia caused by a severe vitamin A deficiency is described by pathologic dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea. The conjunctiva becomes dry, thick and wrinkled. If untreated, it can lead to corneal ulceration and ultimately to blindness as a result of corneal damage. Xerophthalmia is a term that usually implies a destructive dryness of the conjunctival epithelium due to dietary vitamin A deficiency — a rare condition in developed countries, but still causing much damage in developing countries. Other forms of dry eye are associated with aging, poor lid closure, scarring from previous injury, or autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren's syndrome, and these can all cause chronic conjunctivitis. Radioiodine therapy can also induce xerophthalmia, often transiently, although in some patients late onset or persistent xerophthalmia has been observed. The damage to the cornea in vitamin A associated xerophthalmia is quite different from damage to the retina at the back of the globe, a type of damage which can also be due to lack of vitamin A, but which is caused by lack of other forms of vitamin A which work in the visual system. Xerophthalmia from hypovitaminosis A is specifically due to lack of the hormone-like vitamin A metabolite retinoic acid, since the condition can be reversed in vitamin A deficient rats by retinoic acid supplementation. Since retinoic acid cannot be reduced to retinal or retinol, these effects on the cornea must be specific to retinoic acid. This is in keeping with retinoic acid's known requirement for good health in epithelial cells, such as those in the cornea.
U.S. National Library of Medicine
Dryness of the eye surfaces caused by deficiency of tears or conjunctival secretions. It may be associated with vitamin A deficiency, trauma, or any condition in which the eyelids do not close completely.
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"xerophthalmia." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2015. Web. 26 Nov. 2015. <http://www.definitions.net/definition/xerophthalmia>.