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Ancient Egyptians treated Bitot Spots

Bitot spots are an example of an eye manifestation of a systemic disease. They are superficial, irregularly-shaped, foamy gray or white patches that appear on the conjunctiva, the membrane that covers most of the eyeball.

Bitot spots are one of the oldest recorded medical conditions. The ancient Egyptians treated this condition with animal liver more than 3500 years ago. Composed of accumulation of keratinized epithelial debris and secretions, Bitot spots develop into xerophthalmia if not treated. Bitot spots are usually accompanied by night blindness. Eye ulcers develop and the cornea turns to mush (melts) if Bitot spots are not treated. This can result in irreversible blindness.
Bitot spots are most likely due to severe vitamin A deficiency (systemic disease). Bitot spots are also known to occur in people with fat and vitamin malabsorption. Total blindness caused by tissue death due to a severe vitamin A deficiency cannot be treated.

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