(Xerotic Keratitis; Xerophthalmia)
Keratomalacia is an eye disorder that involves drying and clouding of the cornea (the clear layer in front of the iris and pupil) due to vitamin A deficiency and usually insufficient protein and calories in the diet.
The surface of the conjunctiva (the membrane that lines the eyelids and covers the white of the eye) and cornea dries, sometimes leading to corneal ulcers and bacterial infections. The tear glands are also affected, resulting in an inadequate tear film and dry eyes. People with extreme eye dryness can develop foamy spots (Bitot spots) on the conjunctiva. Night blindness (poor vision in the dark) may develop because of the effects of vitamin A deficiency on the retina.