Dietary Deficiencies 2
Ophthalmic deficiency diseases
Avitaminosis Amblyopia (Neuro-retinitis) - This was a common condition. The outstanding symptom was a blurring of vision proceeded by a smarting in the eyes, lacrymation and photophobia. When working in sunlight many of the sufferers experienced actual pain behind the eyes. The blurring was usually first noticed on reading but soon some of the men were unable to recognise people or objects out of doors. The failure of sight was often progressive and severe but in other cases it progressed to a certain stage and then remained static. There was improvement in the condition when the diet improved.
Riboflavin and Nicotinic Acid deficiency diseases
The following conditions are thought to be due to the deficiency of the B2 complex:-
Pellagrous Pigmentation - Prisoners complained of sunburn, the parts affected being the parts most exposed to the sun, eg the shoulders, the forearms and, in men working without boots, the top of the feet. The condition regressed on giving rice polishings and protecting the skin from the sun. It was often recurrent.
Cornification of the Knuckles - This was a thickening of the skin on the joints of the fingers and was an early and persistent sign of pellagra. A similar appearance was also seen on the elbows.
Gastro-Intestinal Symptoms - There were many cases of loss of appetite and persistent diarrhoea, sometimes associated with stomatitis. The diarrhoea lasted for weeks or months and the sufferers became greatly emaciated. In many cases progressive emaciation led to death.
Stomatitis - The tongue became desquamated and raw and sometimes swollen. At a later stage the surface sometimes became smooth and pink but was often fissured. The tongue was unduly sensitive so that the patient could not eat hot or spiced foods and tobacco caused pain. Salivation was excessive. The condition was cured by rice polishings and peanuts.