- Dry eyes. Also, called conjunctivitis arida. Xerophthalmia can be associated with systemic diseases (such as Sjögren' s syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, sarcoidosis, amyloidosis, hypothyroidism, and others) or deficiency of vitamin A. Xerophthalmia results from inadequate function of the lacrimal glands which supply water to produce tears. When xerophthalmia is due to vitamin A deficiency, the condition begins with night blindness and conjunctival xerosis (dryness of the eye membranes) and progresses to corneal xerosis (dryness of the cornea), and, in the late stages, to keratomalacia (softening of the cornea) . The word “xerophthalmia” is apt. It comes from the Greek “xeros” (dry) + “ophthalmos” (eye) = dry eye.
* * *Excessive dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea, which lose their luster and become keratinized; may be due to local disease or to a systemic deficiency of vitamin A. SYN: conjunctivitis arida, xeroma, xerophthalmus. [xero- + G. ophthalmos, eye]
* * *xe·roph·thal·mia .zir-.äf-'thal-mē-ə, -.äp-'thal- n a dry thickened lusterless condition of the eyeball resulting esp. from a severe systemic deficiency of vitamin A compare KERATOMALACIAxe·roph·thal·mic -mik adj
* * *n.a progressive nutritional disease of the eye due to deficiency of vitamin A. The cornea and conjunctiva become dry, thickened, and wrinkled. This may progress to keratomalacia and eventual blindness.
* * *xe·roph·thal·mia (zēr″of-thalґme-ə) [xero- + ophthalmia] dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea due to vitamin A deficiency. The condition begins with night blindness and conjunctival xerosis and progresses to corneal xerosis and, in the late stages, to keratomalacia.
Medical dictionary. 2011.