Vitamin E deficiency is a condition that occurs due to the shortage of a nutrient called vitamin E in an individual's body. Vitamin E is a critical antioxidant in the body that protects an individual's cells from incurring damage from free radicals, which are unstable atoms that play a role in the pathogenesis of numerous diseases, including cancer and heart disease. A vitamin E deficiency can be caused by disorders that affect the way the body absorbs fat from food, such as gallbladder disorders, cystic fibrosis, liver disorders, and pancreatitis.
Vitamin E deficiency can also result from an insufficient intake of foods with vitamin E. A physical examination and blood tests are utilized in making a diagnosis of vitamin E deficiency. Treatment for this type of deficiency focuses on replacing the missing vitamin E in the body. Several symptoms can be indicative of a vitamin E deficiency.
Deterioration Of Vision
A deficiency of vitamin E in an individual can affect the way their retina functions. The retina is a component in an individual's eye that contains millions of cells with a particular sensitivity for light. These cells can be classified as rods or cones. Rods function to help produce monochrome vision when the individual is in an environment with low light, while cones produce an individual's sharp central vision.
Healthy levels of vitamin E in an individual help protect the membranes of these light-sensitive cells in the retina from incurring damage and undergoing adverse alterations caused by a sequence of oxidative events. A patient who has a vitamin E deficiency can experience central degeneration of the cells in their retina, which manifests as a progressive loss of vision over an extended duration. This vision loss may be reversible in some patients who receive prompt and proper medical treatment.