Vitamin A plays an important role in your vision. In order to see the full spectrum of light, the retina of your eye must function properly. Vitamin A deficiency affects the ability of these retinas to function, leading to night blindness. Your eye also needs vitamin A to properly nourish other parts of the eye, including the cornea. Vitamin A deficiency can cause dry eyes.
According to a report by the World Health Organization, the problem of blindness in children worldwide is observed due to vitamin A deficiency. It is estimated that every year 250,000 to 500,000 children become blind due to vitamin A deficiency. Half of these children die within a year of losing their vision.
In pregnant and lactating women, vitamin A deficiency causes night blindness and may contribute to maternal mortality due to impaired immunity (or disease fighting). This increases the chances of dying from malaria, measles and diarrhoea.
What can be the dangers of vitamin A deficiency?
People at risk for vitamin A deficiency include vision loss and blindness, the main symptoms of vitamin A deficiency. What often starts as a problem is trouble seeing in the dark or adapting to night blindness.
People suffering from night blindness cannot see properly as soon as it gets dark. As vitamin A deficiency progresses, the conjunctiva, the white part of the eye that holds moisture in your eye, swells. Then corneal ulcers (open sores) appear. If left untreated, it eventually leads to vision loss and blindness.
Why does vitamin A deficiency occur?
Vitamin A deficiency is diagnosed by eye examination and medical history. A blood test can measure the amount of vitamin A in the blood. But since vitamin A deficiency is most common in areas with limited medical access.
What can be the treatment of vitamin A deficiency
The lack of vitamin A can be compensated with vitamin A supplements. The dosage of the supplement depends on the age of the child. Vitamin A supplements can treat the problem of night blindness.
It can also help the eyes retain moisture again, but vision loss due to corneal ulcer scarring cannot be corrected. Many organizations are working to prevent vitamin A deficiency in developing countries. They help in its prevention through a balanced diet and taking vitamin supplements.
To avoid vitamin A (retinol) deficiency, especially include these foods in your diet:
enriched low-fat spread
milk and yogurt
Liver and liver products such as liver fat – this is a particularly rich source of vitamin A, so if you take vitamin A more than once a week, there is a risk of getting too much vitamin A, and if you are pregnant you should avoid eating
You can also get vitamin A by including good sources of beta-carotene in your diet, as the body can convert it into retinol.
The main sources of beta-carotene in food are:
Yellow, red and green (leafy) vegetables, such as spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes and red peppers, yellow fruits such as mangoes, papayas and apricots
The above methods are effective in avoiding vision impairment caused by vitamin A deficiency. So adopt them and preserve your vision forever.