Zinc deficiency associated with corneal ulcer

B. Biedner, E. Shinwell, R. Gorodischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An infant who had zinc deficiency from inadequate dietary intake showed delayed repair of corneal ulcer. It is suggested that the zinc deficiency was responsible for the corneal ulcer's resistance to standard treatment. Zinc deficiency can result from an inadequate dietary intake, malabsorption, increased body losses, intravenous feeding or a combination of several of these predisposing factors. It is characterized by a vesicular pustular bullous eruption around the mouth and anal areas, by loss of hair and by gastrointestinal disturbances with intermittent diarrhea. Frequently there is secondary infection with Candida albicans or bacteria. Blepharitis, conjunctivitis and alopecia with loss of eye lashes and eye brows are the ocular findings. Corneal involvement has been reported in 3 cases of acrodermatitis enteropathica, an example of zinc deficiency probably caused by intestinal malabsorption. We describe the first case of zinc deficiency due to inadequate dietary intake with corneal ulceration which healed only with intravenous fluids, vitamin C and a diet increasing in calories and zinc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalSouth African Archives of Ophthalmology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes


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