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Hypovitaminosis A in the context of psychiatric condition

Poster Details

First Author: P.Rodrigues PORTUGAL

Co Author(s):    D. Reis-Cabral   J. Macieira   H. Nogueira              

Abstract Details


To report a case of hypovitaminosis A related to anorexia nervosa and review the related literature.


Instituto de Oftalmologia Dr. Gama Pinto, Lisboa


Case Report.


Woman of 36 years old, with history of anorexia nervosa, presents with bilateral insidious decrease of visual acuity (VA). Best corrected VA was 0.5 in OD and 0.3 in OS. Observation showed bilateral inferior epithelial defect, corneal edema and Bitot spots. Hypovitaminosis A was diagnosed based on the clinical exam and history of dietary deficiencies. Topical antibiotic and vitamin A and oral vitamin A were prescribed and information was sent to the attending psychiatrist. Despite low compliance to the oral supplementation, improvement was observed, with just small peripheral nubelas and a VA of 1.0 in OD and 0.5 in OS.


In western countries hypovitaminosis A is an infrequent but potentially dangerous condition. Oral replacement therapy and dietetic changes are the main treatments. Topical therapy is used less often. In our case, due to the lack of compliance to the oral treatment, topical vitamin A was essential and improved the ocular situation. In conclusion, vitamin deficiencies caused by psychiatric conditions are challenging to deal with, and a multidisciplinary approach is recommended in these cases. Timely treatment is potentially very effective.

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