Low Potassium and Blurred Vision

Potassium plays important roles in your body, including in the function of your heart and other muscles. If you have a low potassium level, a condition known as hypokalemia, you have an increased risk for serious health conditions, such as irregularities in your heart rate. Certain symptoms may accompany low potassium levels, and if you have a risk for hypokalemia, you should know these warning signs. Some changes, such as blurry vision, do not have any known connection to hypokalemia.

Symptoms

If you have minor fluctuations in your potassium level, you will not likely experience any symptoms. However, if you have a prolonged or significant drop in potassium, you may have problems with constipation, fatigue, muscle spasms and muscle weakness. Serious symptoms such as irregular heart rate, muscle fiber breakdown and paralysis may occur in severe cases.

Causes

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Blurry vision is not a sign of a low potassium level, but vision changes could indicate other conditions. In some cases, you may need a change in your eyewear prescription, and your doctor can test your vision to determine if this is the cause for the blurriness. Other causes for blurry vision may include eye conditions such as cataract, glaucoma, macular degeneration or retinopathy. Your doctor will dilate your eyes and perform a thorough exam to rule out these and other eye problems that could result in vision changes.

Treatment

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If your doctor suspects you have a low potassium level, she will order a blood test. Once your doctor knows the amount of potassium in your system, she will recommend treatment, and this will mostly likely consist of a potassium supplement. Your doctor will monitor your level periodically and add or decrease your potassium dosage accordingly. If oral supplements do not work, or if you have a severely low level, your doctor may recommend that you receive potassium intravenously, meaning through a vein.

Considerations

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Any sign of low potassium requires an evaluation by your doctor to ensure that you do not reach an extremely low, dangerous blood level. You should not take potassium supplements unless directed by your doctor, since too much potassium could result in other complications.

As well, if you experience any changes in vision, contact your doctor for an immediate evaluation. Some eye conditions, such as a retinal detachment, may begin with minor vision changes and progress to full loss of vision. Prompt treatment of this and other eye conditions may help restore your vision.

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