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Optom Vis Sci. 2019 Jun;96(6):453-458. doi: 10.1097/OPX.0000000000001385.

Case Report: Vitamin A Deficiency and Nyctalopia in a Patient with Chronic Pancreatitis.

Lee A1, Tran N1,2,3, Monarrez J1,2,3, Mietzner D1,2,3.

Author information

1
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, North Las Vegas, Nevada.
2
Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University, Fullerton, California.
3
Illinois College of Optometry, Chicago, Illinois *anneleeod@gmail.com.

Abstract

SIGNIFICANCE:

Vitamin A deficiency is a known concern in developing countries, but it is often overlooked in developed regions. A history of conditions causing alimentary malabsorption should be considered when patients present with complaints of nyctalopia.

PURPOSE:

A case of vitamin A deficiency with nyctalopia in a patient with chronic pancreatitis including pertinent diagnostic testing, treatment, and management is presented. The intent is to draw attention to the condition as a differential diagnosis for nyctalopia due to increased prevalence of conditions causing malabsorption.

CASE REPORT:

A patient with a history of chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic tumor presented with symptoms of nyctalopia and xerophthalmia. Given his systemic history, testing was ordered to determine serum vitamin A levels and retinal function. After results had confirmed depleted vitamin A levels and diminished retinal function, treatment with both oral and intramuscular vitamin A supplementation was initiated to normalize vitamin A levels and improve retinal photoreceptor function. Subjective improvement in symptoms was reported shortly after beginning supplementation, and ultimately, vitamin A levels and retinal function showed improvement after intramuscular treatment.

CONCLUSIONS:

Detailed case history and a careful review of systems along with serum vitamin A testing and, if available, electroretinography to assess retinal function can help to make a definitive diagnosis. With appropriate comanagement with the patient's primary care physician, it is possible for those with nyctalopia to begin vitamin A supplementation and regain retinal function.

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