Why is my eye twitching?
Eye Twitching is a very common problem. Causes and Treatments depend on their trigger factors. An Eye twitch is the repetitive, involuntary spasm of eyelid muscles. It comes on suddenly and can last for a second, minute, hours, days or even longer. While it may feel as if everyone can see the twitch, most twitches are slight enough that they can’t be seen by someone simply looking at your face.
Why does my eye twitch?
Eye spasm or twitch usually occurs in the upper lid but can occur in both the upper and lower lid (Eyelid twitching). These movements are unpredictable, painless, harmless, does not affect vision and resolves on its own but it bothers the patient.
Mostly, these spasms are very mild and feel like a gentle tug on the eyelid. Some people can feel like they have under eye muscle twitching. However, there are some neurological problems that can make eyelid muscles contracts myokymias, such as blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm. These less common conditions generally tend to cause the eyelids to close more fully and for longer periods of time, limiting or completely blocking vision.
Another condition known as hemifacial spasm exists, wherein an involuntary twitching on one whole side of the face occurs, caused by compression of one of the facial nerve. Other muscles in the face may be affected as well.
What causes twitching eyes?
Causes of Eye twitching which may trigger it by
- Alcohol intake
- Bright light
- Caffeine excess
- Irritation of the eye surface or inner eyelids
- Eye Strain
- Lack of sleep
- Physical exertion
Other conditions that sometimes cause it
- Corneal abrasion
- Dry eye twitching
- Light sensitivity
When to worry about eye twitching?
Very rarely, eye twitching may be a sign of certain brain and nervous system disorders. When it is, it’s almost always accompanied by other signs and symptoms. Brain and nervous system disorders that can cause eye twitching to include:
- Bells palsy
- Cervical dystonia
- Multiple sclerosis
- Oromandibular dystonia and facial dystonia
- Tourette syndrome
Eye twitching may be a side effect of drugs, particularly medication used to treat epilepsy and psychosis. It is sometimes the earliest sign of a chronic movement disorder, especially if other facial spasms develop too.
How to stop eye twitching?
For the majority, the common eyelid twitch is a brief and minor irritant. But when it lasts longer or occurs more frequently than usual, there are some tips to reduce the effect.
1. Get some rest
Eyelid twitches often happen to people when they are overly tired. Get some restorative sleep.
2. Reduce stress
Being under stress can lead to twitch. Stress is regarded as the number one cause of eye spasm by various studies. If you can’t eliminate something causing you stress, find stress-reducing activities to help get rid of the twitch.
3. Drink less caffeine
As a stimulant, caffeine can cause eyelid spasms. Limiting your coffee, tea or soda intake may help to reduce eyelid twitching.
4. Moisturize the eyes
In some cases, having irritated or dry eyes can lead to eyelid spasms. Use of artificial tears can reduce grittiness and twitching.
Giving a gentle massage to eye with warm compression in between can help reduce the spasm.
When to See Eye Doctors for Eye Twitching
Usually, no treatment is required for such tics but one needs to see the ophthalmologist if following events occur.
- Eyes are red, swollen with discharge.
- Eyelids get drooped.
- Eyelid gets completely closed with each twitch or there is difficulty opening the eye.
- Continues for several weeks.
- Involves other parts of a face.
About the author: Dr Monica Karmacharya is the Medical Director at Dibyajyoti eye/ear care hospital, Eastern Nepal.
Eye twitching Superstitions
There are variations for Superstitions in Nepal about eye twitching, but the general belief is that it is bad. Some say that if your right eye twitches, then it is good luck. If left eye twitches, it is a bad omen.