What is eye twitching?

Eye Twitching
The twitching or spasms are usually very mild and feel like a gentle tug or flickering of the eyelid.

An eye/eyelid twitch (myokymia), is an involuntary, repeated spasm of the eyelid muscle. It can occur in the upper or lower lids. It is usually harmless and resolves without any treatment.

What causes eyelid twitching?

Some common causes are:

  • Alcohol, smoking and substance abuse
  • Exposure to bright lights
  • Excessive caffeine consumption
  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Pollution
  • Wind
  • Irritation or infection of the eye or eyelids
  • Straining of the eyes due to reading or using the computer
  • Brain and nervous system disorders such as Bell’s palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Tourette’s, etc.
  • Side effects of certain medication

Though less common, eye twitching is sometimes the first sign of a chronic movement disorder.

What does eye twitching feel like?

  • The twitching or spasms are usually very mild and feel like a gentle tug or flickering of the eyelid.
  • Some patients may experience strong spasms, causing the eyelids to shut. This is called blepharospasm.
  • Twitching is usually unpredictable. It may occur every few seconds and last for a few minutes to hours and this may continue for several days.
  • Twitching is usually
    • painless
    • harmless and does not affect vision but maybe a nuisance
    • resolved spontaneously

How can I get my eye to stop twitching?

  • Get adequate rest and sleep.
  • Reduce consumption of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.
  • Artificial tears or eye drops may help keep the eyes lubricated.
  • Apply pressure with the palm of the hand or use a warm compress.
  • Occasionally, the doctor may advise Botox injections into the eyelid or surgery to stop the spasms.

 

When should I be worried about eye twitching?

If the twitching does not disappear on its own, consider seeing a doctor if you face the following:

  • The twitching does not resolve in a few weeks.
  • Your eyelid shuts when it twitches and there is difficulty opening the eye (blepharospasm).
  • Twitching happens in other parts of your face or body.
  • The eye is inflamed, irritated, red or swollen or has discharge.
  • The eyelids start drooping.
     

How can eyelid twitching be prevented?

  • Get adequate rest.
  • Manage your physical and psychological stress.
  • Reduce the intake of caffeine and alcohol.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Avoid straining the eyes by taking breaks while reading, using the computer or watching TV.

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Medically Reviewed on 6/15/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference
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