Vitamin B12 deficiency: Problems with your eyes? Myokymia is a symptom – what is it?

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Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep your body’s blood and nerve cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all of your cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent megaloblastic anaemia, a blood condition that makes people tired and weak. Lacking in the essential vitamin could cause an involuntary twitch.

Twitching around the eyes can be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Medically referred to as myokymia, the twitching can be triggered due to different reasons and the most common ones are stress and fatigue.

However, there is one more thing that may lead to the sporadic incidents of eye twitching: Vitamin B 12 deficiency.

Myokymia is an involuntary, spontaneous, localized quivering of a few muscles, or bundles within a muscle, but which are insufficient to move a joint. 

It is the spontaneous contracture of the eyelid muscles, usually the orbicularis oculi muscle. Myokymia is usually unilateral (one eye only) and more often involves the lower eyelid instead of the upper.

The eye condition can also be caused by stress, tiredness, allergies or dry eyes, among other things. 

The condition is not serious and is usually self-limiting.

Consultant Nutritionist Doctor Rupali Dutta said: “Eye twitching can be caused due to a B12 deficiency which may occur as a result of excessive alcohol consumption, or an imbalance in electrolytes sodium and potassium.

“Eye twitching may also occur due to excessive loss of fluids or dehydration.”      

Reducing your caffeine intake, getting enough sleep, reducing your stress levels and increasing your B12 levels are all ways you can reduce the twitch.

Food sources rich in vitamin B12 include:

  • Beef, liver, and chicken.
  • Fish and shellfish such as trout, salmon, tuna fish, and clams.
  • Fortified breakfast cereal.
  • Low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese.
  • Eggs.

Other symptoms of low B12 levels include:

  • Weakness, tiredness, or light-headedness
  • Heart palpitations and shortness of breath
  • Pale skin
  • A smooth tongue
  • Constipation, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, or gas
  • Nerve problems like numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and problems walking
  • Vision loss.

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