Maybe you’ve experienced eye twitching before. You’re going about your everyday business, when something distracts you—your eye twitches! You ignore it and go back to reading email. But then it happens again!
For seemingly no reason, your eyelid continues with intermittent spasms for the rest of the day. “But what could be causing it?” you’re now seriously asking yourself. “Is this something I should worry about?”
What is Eye Twitching?
Eye twitching is the involuntary, spontaneous contraction among the fine muscles of the eyelid. Typically, these muscle spasms are localized to the lower eyelid, but can occur in either eye or both. In most cases, minor eye twitching resolves as spontaneously as it begun and isn’t associated with any disease. However, minor eye twitching can be hard to treat since there’s only one way to end it: figure out the cause and deal with it appropriately.
Causes of Eye Twitching
Most people will develop some type of minor eyelid twitch in their lifetime, as there are a variety of external factors that can account for twitching eyes. While we all feel tired and stressed at certain times, our bodies handle it in different ways. Fatigue, stress, eye strain, and caffeine or alcohol consumption, seem to be the most common sources of eye twitching. Eye strain, or vision-related stress, can occur if you need glasses, a change in prescription, or are consistently working in front of a computer. Additionally, many experts believe that too much caffeine or alcohol can also trigger minor eye twitches.
There are some cases where eye twitching is more than a temporary annoyance and is a sign of an eye condition, such as dry eyes. Meanwhile, blepharitis is a chronic inflammation of the eyelid which may cause uncomfortable twitching. There are treatments that can soothe the twitching along with other symptoms; such as over-the-counter artificial tears, hot and cold compresses, or a prescribed cream or scrub. A small percentage of people who experience eye twitching can develop benign essential blepharospasm; the forceful, involuntary contraction of the eyelid to the point where you can’t open your eyes.
If you feel your eyes begin to twitch, take a look at your recent lifestyle choices. How much sleep have you been getting? Are you feeling stressed or anxious? Have you spent significant time in front of a computer? It’s important to adjust your habits in order to stop the twitching. Try to reduce your source of stress, catch up on sleep, and take breaks from your computer monitor to rest your eyes. Be sure to reduce your caffeine consumption as well (sorry, coffee lovers).
If you experience any of the symptoms below, reach out to a nearest doctor right away. The doctor will examine your eyes and consult with you to determine a course of resolve.
- Twitching lasting longer than 72 hours, that completely closes an eyelid
- Spasms that involve other facial muscles
- Redness, swelling, or discharge from an eye or a droopy upper eyelid
This article was reviewed byDr. Jennifer Tsai, OD. Dr. Tsai practices In New York City.
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