glasses and different shapes on a sheet of paper used to test eye sight

Can Anemia Affect Your Eye Health?

glasses and different shapes on a sheet of paper used to test eye sight

Anemia is a common condition that can make you feel weak, short of breath, and constantly tired and cause problems like difficulty standing or performing everyday tasks. Anemia can also affect your eye health.

Today, we will look at what anemia is and how it can impact your eyes.

What is anemia?

Anemia is a condition that impacts your red blood cell count and its ability to deliver oxygen properly to the body. Symptoms of anemia range from fatigue, muscle weakness, pale skin, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath.

red blood cells in the body

There are many types of anemia. Common causes include iron deficiency, B12 deficiency, and folic acid deficiency. Certain chronic illnesses and traumatic blood loss can also cause anemia.

How can anemia affect your eyes?

One of the ways that a doctor can assess a person for signs of anemia is by looking at your eyes. Anemia may cause retinopathy (eye disease) in as many as 28% of patients.1

The eyelid is normally red when a proper red blood cell count is present.

two different people touching faces showing their different types of eyes

If the red blood cell count is abnormal, the eyelid may appear spotty or white, indicating possible anemia. This test is somewhat unreliable but is a good basic indicator.

Your doctor may also look at the inside of your eye to evaluate the health of the blood vessels, whether there is any bleeding, or if your eye is not receiving enough oxygen. Lack of blood flow to the eyes can increase the risk of a ruptured blood vessel, also known as transient retinal hemorrhages.

Left untreated, anemia can cause permanent damage to your eyes, which can cause vision loss.

If your doctor detects signs of anemia, they will likely schedule further tests to determine if you are anemic. They will usually request a blood test and an iron test. This makes it easier to identify the root cause of the anemia. If the doctor requests follow-up tests to determine if you are, in fact, anemic, you may need to fast for 12 to 24 hours before the test to ensure accurate results.

How is anemia treated?

The results of your testing will determine the next course of action. Some types of anemia may be treated with medications, blood transfusions, antibiotics, lifestyle changes, or other therapies.

Anemia that is caused by nutrient deficiencies may be corrected with diet adjustments and supplements

IV treatments for opioid addiction recovery

Oral supplements are one way to improve iron, B12, or folic acid levels, but this can take time for the body to absorb enough of the necessary nutrients to correct low red blood cell counts.

Another option is IV infusion therapy. IV infusions of iron, B12, and other vitamins are much faster and more effective than oral supplements or injections. They may be a good choice for those suffering from severe anemia symptoms.

Final thoughts

Anemia is a common but serious blood disorder that affects millions of people every day.The symptoms can be debilitating depending on the cause and severity of the anemia. Once the cause of the anemia is known, it is usually possible to correct the condition through supplemental nutrition and lifestyle changes.

Check with your doctor if you notice any symptoms of anemia, and get tested as soon as possible because anemia can affect your eye health. Seeking testing, diagnosis, and treatment can help protect your vision for years to come.

At-Home Iron Infusion With Drip Hydration

Iron IV therapy is an efficient and convenient way to increase your iron levels quickly and effectively. With Drip Hydration's at-home treatment option, our team will come to your location to administer the IV, whether that be your home or office. You will be able to relax and carry on with your daily activities, while we take care of the rest.

Contact Drip Hydration today and schedule your appointment, our experienced team is here to help you achieve optimal iron levels and improve your overall health.

Iron IV  Infusion - Frequently Asked Questions

What is Iron infusion?

Iron IV Infusion is a therapy where an enriched saline bag with iron and other vitamins is intravenously administered.

Why would a patient need an iron infusion?

Patients typically need an iron infusion to correct low blood iron levels, although infusions may also be given in advance of a medical procedure. There are many potential reasons a patient might have low blood iron, including illness, certain medical conditions, side effects from other treatments, inability to absorb adequate iron from diet or supplements, and more.

How to prepare for an iron infusion

The most significant preparation required for an iron infusion is to ensure you set aside enough time for treatment. Unlike some procedures, there is no need to fast prior to this procedure.

  • Iron infusions may take 3 or 4 hours, so bring a book, a game, music or podcasts, a computer, or sit near your TV so you can stay occupied during treatment.
  • Eat breakfast, stay hydrated, and take your medication as normal unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You may also want to consider having a blanket on hand if you get cold easily.

What happens during an iron infusion?

A nurse will arrive at your location at your appointment time with the necessary equipment for your infusion. They will then administer a test dose via a needle and catheter to ensure that you do not have an allergic reaction to the ingredients in the infusion.

After your test dose, your infusion will begin. This process typically takes several hours. Following your infusion, you can resume activities as normal unless otherwise instructed.

How long does an iron infusion take?

An iron infusion typically takes 3 – 4 hours. Many patients require multiple infusions over time to correct their iron levels. Your doctor will determine the best course of treatment for your needs.

What are the side effects of iron infusions?

There are several potential side effects of iron infusions. They are typically mild and resolve on their own shortly after treatment.

  • Headaches
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Temporary changes in your taste
  • Itchiness and rash
  • Increased or decreased blood pressure
  • Increased or decreased heart rate
  • Redness, swelling, or a burning sensation at the injection site

In addition to these, it is possible to have an allergic reaction to ingredients in the infusion. However, your test dose will help prevent this issue.

Which iron infusion is safest?

The safest iron infusion is administered by a trained and licensed medical professional. Before your treatment, they will administer a test dose to ensure you do not have an allergic reaction to any ingredients in the infusion.

Additionally, safe IV providers will store and handle ingredients and equipment properly to help prevent infections and other complications.

Can you get an iron infusion during pregnancy?

Yes. A doctor may order an iron IV infusion for pregnant women if necessary, typically during the second or third trimester.

What are the risks involved with iron infusion?

Iron infusions are a safe procedure when administered by a licensed and trained healthcare professional. However, iron infusions are a minimally invasive procedure that comes with some potential risks.

Risks of IV treatment in general include:

  • Air embolism
  • Blood clots
  • Vein damage
  • Chance of infection at the injection site

In addition to the risks associated with IV treatments, iron infusions may also cause an allergic reaction due to ingredient(s) in the treatment.

Who administers the therapy?

One of our licensed clinicians will perform the Iron IV Therapy.

How quickly does an iron infusion work?

It depends on the patient’s circumstances. Some people feel better shortly after their first infusion. Those who need multiple infusions to correct low iron levels may start feeling better after a week or more.

How long will an iron infusion last?

The iron infusion itself typically takes about three hours to administer. Following treatment, an infusion may last days, weeks, or months depending on individual circumstances.

Are iron infusions painful?

Iron infusions are a largely painless medical procedure. Patients may experience a brief pinching sensation as the needle is inserted into the vein. Some patients report temporary side effects such as headaches and nausea following treatment.

How many times do I need an iron infusion?

The exact number of infusions will depend on your situation. Your doctor will assess your needs and develop a treatment plan to effectively correct low iron levels.

Do iron infusions make you gain weight?

No, iron infusions do not make you gain weight. One study found that infusions actually caused participants to lose weight.

What is the average cost of an iron infusion?

Iron infusions may cost anywhere between $400 to $4000. The exact cost will depend on variables such as the type of iron used, how many infusions you need, where you get treatment, whether your insurance covers treatments, and other factors.

Is an iron infusion better than a blood transfusion?

Both an iron infusion and blood transfusion aim to restore low iron levels, whether due to a medical condition, severe injury, in preparation for surgery, or other reasons. Both methods are effective ways to restore low iron levels.

  • A blood transfusion delivers new, donated blood into your body
  • An iron infusion contains only iron and saline solution

Your doctor can help determine which is best for your needs.

What iron level requires an iron infusion?

This depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of anemia you have, whether or not you are pregnant, and other factors.

If you notice symptoms of low iron, it’s important to visit a doctor. They will be able to determine whether an iron infusion is right for you.

Can you feel worse after an iron infusion?

There are some minor side effects that can occur during or after an iron infusion, such as headaches, nausea, and muscle aches. However, these are temporary and resolve quickly after treatment, after which you should feel the benefits of normal iron levels.


[1] Gaurav Y. S. - Anemic Retinopathy: Case Reports and Disease Features;