August 2010

 

OPHTHALMOLOGY NEWS

 

A mother's vitamin A deficiency can blind newborns


   

Women considering gastric bypass surgery before they are done having children have another factor to consider: their unborn child's vision. According to a new case study, biliopancreatic diversion surgery can cause a vitamin A deficiency so severe it can render a child blind at birth. Glen Gole, M.D., an ophthalmologist at the Royal Children's Hospital at the University of Queensland, Australia, as well as other Australian clinical investigators, documented a case of a woman who had biliopancreatic diversion surgery for obesity 7 years before the birth of her child. At only 9 weeks into her pregnancy, the mother was diagnosed with severe vitamins A, D, and K deficiencies, as well as iron-deficiency anima. When the child was born, he had significant malformations in both eyes including microphthalmia, inferior adherent leukoma, and optic nerve hypoplasia. "The infant was found to have undetectable serum vitamin A levels in the perinatal period," the researchers state in the study. "At 8 weeks of age, the infant underwent sector iridectomies. At 9 months of age, electroretinography suggested rod dysfunction." Despite treatment, the child's vision currently remains poor. "The mother's description of night blindness, recurrent low vitamin A levels during the pregnancy, and demonstrated vitamin A deficiency in the neonate support vitamin A deficiency as the cause," Dr. Gole said in a statement. "This case illustrates that vitamin A is very important for normal eye development in the fetus, particular for pregnant woman who have undergone gastric bypass surgery in order to improve their fertility." Although AAPOS isn't aware of any other cases where this has happened, Journal of AAPOS editor-in-chief David G. Hunter, M.D., Ph.D., drives home the importance of having vitamin decencies corrected before conceiving. "It is important for any woman who has had this form of gastric bypass surgery to be checked for vitamin deficiencyand have it correctedbefore considering having a baby," Dr. Hunter said in a release. The study, "Ocular malformation in a newborn secondary to maternal hypovitaminosis A" (DOI: 10.1016/j.jaapos.2010.01.015) was published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus.

Reported by EyeWorld News Services

A mother's vitamin A deficiency can blind newborns A mother's vitamin A deficiency can blind newborns
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