It is estimated that 41 per cent of the population aged under 5 in the developing world has an inadequate vitamin A dietary intake resulting in increased morbidity and mortality. Half a million children go blind each year as a result of vitamin A deficiency. Thirteen and a half million have night blindness, the first sign of vitamin A deficiency. Unfortunately, there is no simple, sensitive and inexpensive means to identify the child who has marginal levels of vitamin A and thus institute means to prevent their development of severe deficiency. A low cost, simple, easy-to-use instrument designed to detect a young child's ability to adapt to darkness was tested in children admitted to the Mwanamugimu Nutrition Unit at Makerere Medical School in Kampala, Uganda. Despite the severe degree of malnutrition found in these children, Night Vision Threshold Test results and serum retinol levels were related (r = 0.41, p < 0.05). Further efficacy trials for this instrument are planned at community sites in Nepal.
ASJC Scopus subject areas