Eyes Home > Vitamin A Deficiency

Although rare in developed countries, vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness in developing areas of the world. Symptoms that may occur as a result of a deficiency include diarrhea, night blindness, and pneumonia. Certain people appear to be at a higher risk for developing deficiency of vitamin A, including those with diabetes, liver disease, or cystic fibrosis.

An Overview of Vitamin A Deficiency

Vitamin A deficiency is rare in developed countries. However, it is a leading cause of blindness in developing areas of the world, especially in malnourished children. Fortunately, the condition is easily treated.
 

Possible Signs of Vitamin A Deficiency

Signs that a person may be deficient in vitamin A include:
 
  • Night blindness, which can progress to complete blindness
  • A weak immune system (increasing the susceptibility to infections)
  • Pneumonia
  • Diarrhea
  • Goose bump-like appearance of the skin
  • Slow growth
  • Slow bone development
  • Decreased chance of surviving serious illnesses
  • Birth defects.
     

Vitamin A Deficiency: Who's At Risk?

Healthy people in developed countries have a low risk for vitamin A deficiency. This vitamin is found in a wide variety of foods, including animal and plant products. However, certain groups of people seem to have a higher risk of developing a deficiency, including people with the following conditions:
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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