Twitching around the eyes can be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency.
The twitch usually occurs in one eye or the other, or just below them.
The symptom is not normally painful, but can be irritating.
The body uses vitamin B12 to make red blood cells and to keep the nervous system healthy.
B12 deficiency has also been linked to facial pain.
The pain can also be felt across the forehead, occasionally coming down to the edge of the nose.
Other, more common signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include feeling tired, experiencing muscle weakness and being constipated.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can also lead to neuropathy.
This can cause a tingling or numbness in the hands, legs or feet.
The sensation frequently starts in the feet and moves to the hands.
The feelings may also be linked to problems with walking or even difficulty balancing.
People who may have difficulty getting enough vitamin B12 include vegetarians, older people and those with some digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is easy to rectify with supplements or by dietary changes.
Vitamin B12 levels can be boosted through supplementation or by eating foods such as dairy, liver, salmon and eggs.
Fortified breakfast cereals also contain vitamin B12.
Dr John D. England, a neurologist at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, said:
“People with suspected nerve problems should talk to their doctors about screening tests, especially blood glucose, vitamin B12 level and serum protein levels, since these tests can often point to common causes of neuropathy.”
Dr England continued:
“There are many people with a neuropathy who have been walking around for years without having been diagnosed and treated.
Both neurologists and people with neuropathy need to know that the appropriate choice of tests is critical to accurate diagnosis.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The guidelines were published in the American Academy of Neurology.