You May See a Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Your Eyes – Dr Mercola
The eyes are the windows to the soul and may also give you an indication of vitamin B12 deficiency. One of the effects of deficiency is a blood condition called megaloblastic anemia. It causes the bone marrow to release immature blood cells,5 which are unable to deliver adequate amounts of oxygen to the body. The result is fatigue and pale skin.
Two of the most common causes of megaloblastic anemia are vitamin B12 or folate (Vitamin B9) deficiencies. Both play an essential role in red blood cell production. Additional symptoms include difficulty breathing, muscle weakness and gastrointestinal symptoms, such as loss of appetite and nausea.
Those with megaloblastic anemia may also develop jaundice, a slight yellowing of the skin or eyes. Some with vitamin B12 deficiency report experiencing eye twitching or eyelid spasms. However, these may also be related to allergies or excessive alcohol consumption and thus must be looked at in the overall picture.
Optic nerve damage from deficiency is a rare complication that may affect vision and lead to optic neuropathy characterized by painless vision loss. This may be reversed with intravenous vitamin B12 treatment and, potentially, oral folic acid supplementation depending upon the individual case.6
Low Levels of B12 May Be Easily Missed
Unless you present with recognizable signs of deficiency, most physicians don’t test for vitamin B12 levels. Even when tested, serum norms in the U.S. may be suboptimal. Normal ranges of vitamin B12 in the U.S. are 160 pg/mL to 950 pg/mL.7 Yet individual requirements may vary, and symptoms of deficiency may appear in the “normal” range.8