A twitching near the eyes can be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Twitches normally happen in one or the other eye — they can be irritating but they are not normally painful.
Similarly, a tingling sensation in the legs, feet or hands can also signal a vitamin B12 deficiency.
The feeling can start in the legs and then, later, move to the hands.
It can be accompanied by difficulties balancing or walking.
This problem is known as neuropathy and is more common in those over 50-years-old.
Other frequent signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include feeling dizzy and lethargic, being constipated, muscle weakness and jaundice.
Vitamin B12 is used by the body to keep the nervous system healthy and to make red blood cells.
Certain groups have difficulty getting enough vitamin B12, such as older people, vegetarians and people with digestive disorders, like Crohn’s disease.
Fortunately, vitamin B12 deficiency is relatively easy for most to rectify.
Supplements are available, or foods such as fortified cereals, liver, dairy, eggs and salmon are all high in 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.”
Be aware that eye twitching can also be linked to tiredness, stress, allergies and dry eyes, among other causes.
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.