Progressive eye disease characterized by dry eyes, scientifically called Xerophtalmia. This disease can cause serious damage to the cornea in the form of white spots and corneal ulcers. Even these conditions can lead to blindness, if not treated immediately.
Vitamin A deficiency or retinol is the main cause of the emergence of xerophthalmia. The function of vitamin A itself as a source for producing photoreceptor cells in the retina, so that the eyes can see the full light.
In addition, vitamin A is also needed to nourish other parts of the eye, including the cornea. The clear part on the front surface of the eye requires vitamin A, in order to produce adequate fluid to become an eye lubricant.
For people who are prone to xerophthalmia are pregnant women and children. Around 4.4 million children under five and 6 million pregnant women experience xerophthalmia every year.
Then, to treat xerophthalmia should be done immediately with vitamin A supplement therapy. However, the treatment depends on the conditions and symptoms experienced by the sufferer.
Xerophthalmia is usually characterized by the condition of the conjunctiva that dries, thickens, and begins to wrinkle. Other symptoms related to dry eyes include:
1. The view becomes blurred.
2. Fatigue in the eye.
3. Pain and eyes turn red.
4. The eyelids become thick.
5. Decreased ability or sharpness of vision and accuracy.
Then, the symptoms of xerophthalmia that arise are not able to see in dim light (Night blindness). This condition will get worse if followed by the appearance of Bitot spots (Bitot spots) and corneal ulcers.
And if it is not treated, the most severe symptoms that can occur when part or all of the cornea becomes fluid, leading to blindness.
Generally, Xerophthalmia is caused by vitamin A deficiencyunder normal conditions, vitamin A or retinol can be obtained from fat-soluble foods, both from animal food ingredients, such as chicken, dairy products, eggs, plant foods such as green leafy vegetables or yellow and orange, red palm oil head , and fish liver
Vitamin A intake for healthy people varies based on age. For adult men, daily intake of vitamin A is 900 micrograms.
While for adult women it is 700 micrograms per day. While for children, vitamin A intake per day is around 600 micrograms for people under the age of 13, 400 micrograms for people under the age of 8 years, and 300 micrograms for ages 1-3 years.
People who are most susceptible to xerophthalmia due to vitamin A deficiency are children and pregnant women. The reason is that they need more vitamin A nutrition.
Besides these two, people who have a condition unable to digest vitamin A are also at high risk of developing xerophthalmia. These conditions include:
1. Celiac disease, chronic diarrhea, cystic fibrosis, cirrhosis.
2. Underwent radioiodine treatment for thyroid cancer.
3. Experiencing alcohol addiction.
After the patient is confirmed to have xerophthalmia, the main treatment is in the form of vitamin A supplements.
This needs to be done, especially for patients diagnosed with farsightedness, or night blindness.
Because, vitamin A supplements aim to deal with symptoms and help the eyes re-produce eye lubricating fluid. To help speed healing of xerophthalmia, patients are recommended to:
1. Avoid climate or dry room conditions.
2. Jse an air purifier or humidifier in the room.
3. Wear protective glasses that can slow evaporation of water from the surface of the eye.
4. Use an ointment, gel, or artificial tears. however, avoid tears with preservatives if you have to use it more than four times a day.
5. Rest your eyes after doing activities that require long-term visual acuity.
6. If xerophthalmia has caused corneal damage, administration of antibiotics is needed to avoid further infection.
7. The person concerned or the patient is advised to protect, and cover the eyes as long as the lesions in the eye have not healed, so there is no further infection