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Ophthalmology 2023

Bitot stains: what são, symptoms, causes and treatment

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Bitot stains: what são, symptoms, causes and treatment
Bitot stains: what são, symptoms, causes and treatment

Bitot spots are small, greyish-white, oval, foamy, irregularly shaped spots that can appear on the whites of the eyes.

This type of stain usually arises due to a lack of vitamin A in the body, which leads to an increase in the concentration of keratin in the conjunctiva of the eye. For this reason, this type of problem is more common in undernourished populations, as it happens more frequently in African countries, being frequent in children.

Bitot's spots are considered an initial phase of xerophthalmia that, if it continues to evolve, can cause serious complications such as ulcers and night blindness, for example. Therefore, whenever there is a suspicion of the presence of Bitot spots in the eye, it is very important to consult an ophthalmologist to confirm the diagnosis and initiate the appropriate treatment.Understand more about what xerophthalmia is and what it can cause.

Main symptoms

The most important characteristic of Bitot's spots is the appearance of one or more gray-white spots on the white part of the eye, with a foamy or dry appearance.

However, other symptoms may also appear, such as:

  • Frequently dry eye sensation;
  • Difficulty seeing at night or in darker places;
  • Frequent eye infections.

Diagnosis of Bitot spots is usually made after evaluation by an ophthalmologist, but may also include performing a biopsy of the injured tissue and a blood test to assess the amount of vitamin A in the blood.

Possible causes

The main cause of the appearance of Bitot spots is vitamin A deficiency, which can happen either due to a decrease in the intake of foods that contain this vitamin or due to situations that make it difficult for the absorption of the vitamin by the intestine, as happens in malabsorption syndrome or Crohn's disease, for example.

However, spots can also appear as a result of inflammation of the conjunctiva, known as conjunctivitis. See what types of conjunctivitis are.

How the treatment is done

Treatment is usually done with the aim of eliminating the cause of Bitot's spot, and the doctor may recommend the use of vitamin supplementation and increased consumption of foods rich in vitamin A, such as the liver, carrots, spinach and mango. See which foods are rich in vitamin A.

In addition, the ophthalmologist may indicate the use of specific eye drops to reduce corneal dryness. Find out what types of eye drops are and what they are for.

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