Sudden eye twitching, also known as eyelid myokymia, is a common condition that many people experience at some point in their lives. It occurs when the muscles around the eyes contract involuntarily, causing the eyelid to twitch or blink rapidly.
When it happens to you unexpectedly, you are probably wondering "why is my eye twitching". There could be several reasons, and we will talk about them here.
Although eye twitching can be annoying and uncomfortable, it is usually not a serious medical condition. However, in some cases, it can be a sign of an underlying eye health problem that requires medical attention.
Table of Content:
Causes of Eye Twitching
The exact cause of sudden eye twitching is not always clear, but doctors often associate it with stress, fatigue, dehydration, poor nutrition (imbalance in vitamin D, vitamin B12, or magnesium), or caffeine intake.
Other possible causes for mild twitching include dry eyes, allergies, eye strain, and reaction to certain medications.
Some conditions that can cause persistent or more serious eye twitching include:
Blepharospasm (a neurological disorder that causes repetitive, involuntary spasms of the eyelid muscles)
Hemifacial spasm (a condition that causes spasms on one side of the face, including the eyelid)
Bell's palsy (a condition that causes sudden weakness or paralysis of the muscles on one side of the face, including the eyelid)
Dystonia (a movement disorder that causes muscle contractions and spasms)
Corneal abrasion (a scratch on the surface of the eye that can cause twitching, pain, and other symptoms)
Brain damage (after cerebral inflammation or a stroke)
In rare cases, eye twitching may be a symptom of a more serious neurological disorder, such as Parkinson's disease or Tourette syndrome. So if you get sudden eye twitching that persists or you experience other symptoms along with it, see a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation and diagnosis.
Eye Twitching Symptoms
The main symptom of eyelid myokymia is a repetitive, involuntary movement of the eyelid. In some cases, the twitching may be barely noticeable, while in others, it can be quite pronounced.
Involuntary eye twitching can occur in one or both eyes, and it may last for a few seconds or several minutes. The annoying spasms usually go away on their own.
Only severe cases when the twitching continues for days or weeks should be a cause for concern and a reason to get an urgent appointment with your eye doctor.
Potential Complications and Dangers
Temporarily eye twitching is completely normal and does not lead to long-term complications. However, chronic and severe involuntary spasms of the eyelids may lead to permanent damage to the eyelids and some facial parts.
Severe cases could result in the upper eyelids and eyebrows resting lower than usual, abnormal eyelid folding, and excess skin around the eyes. Also, have in mind that individuals with prolonged eye twitching symptoms may eventually experience muscle spasms in other areas of the body like the neck or jaw.
Eye Twitching Treatment Options
In most cases, sudden eye twitching does not require medical treatment and will go away on its own within a few days or weeks. However, if the twitching is persistent or accompanies other symptoms, such as eye pain or vision changes, medical attention may be necessary.
Treatment options for the involuntary eyelid spasms may include:
Resting the eyes
Treating underlying conditions
Taking regular breaks from activities that strain the eyes, such as working on a computer, will potentially ease the symptoms. Moreover, practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, can also reduce stress and alleviate eye twitching.
If the cause of twitching is an underlying condition, such as dry eyes or allergies, treating that condition may help. In some cases, doctors may prescribe medication to reduce the severity of the eyelid twitching, such as botox injections or muscle relaxants.
How to Stop Your Eye from Twitching?
To prevent sudden eye twitching and alleviate eyelid spasms long term, consider the following tips for improving your lifestyle:
Avoid or reduce consuming caffeine
Get an adequate amount of sleep
Manage your stress levels
Minimize the sources of eye irritation
Eat a healthy diet
Caffeine is a stimulant that increases muscle activity, including eye and eyelid muscles. Cutting back on or eliminating caffeine-containing beverages like coffee, tea, and energy drinks may alleviate the twitching.
Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can somewhat contribute to involuntary spasms of the eyelid muscles. Aim for a consistent sleep schedule and try to get a good rest every night to decrease the eye twitching risks.
Stress and anxiety are also some common twitching triggers. Engaging in stress-reducing techniques like relaxation exercises, deep breathing, meditation, or taking part in activities you enjoy allows you to manage stress and reduce eye twitching episodes.
Eye irritation tends to exacerbate eye twitching, too. That is why you need to lubricate your eyes by using artificial tears or eye drops when you feel discomfort. Avoid exposure to smoke, dust, allergens, or other irritants that may cause your eyes to dry out.
Adequate nutrition and antioxidants are essential for eye health. Thus, we advise you to follow a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Incorporating foods high in magnesium and B vitamins, such as spinach, nuts, and bananas, may also help reduce eyelid muscle spasms.
What About Home Remedies for Eye Twitching?
If you're looking for short-term solutions to stop sudden eye twitching, some people and unscientific sources might tell you to apply warm compresses, blink consciously and gently massage the eyelids. However, there is NO medical proof that these home remedies work at all.
As mentioned above, in most cases, eyelid twitching only lasts for a few seconds or minutes and it is not dangerous. So there is usually no need to take any emergency steps or use home remedies whatsoever.
If you feel like trying them out anyway, be cautious! With wet compresses, use only clean water and be extra careful NOT to apply anything too hot to your eyes, to avoid potential burns and eye irritation. Also, NO rubbing and NO pressing on or around the eyeball if you try massaging your eyes.
RELATED: Common Myths About Eyes
When to See a Doctor for Eye Twitching?
Eye twitching is usually not a serious condition. But in rare cases, it can be a symptom of a more serious health problem. If you experience persistent or severe eyelid spasm that doesn't go away after resting, or if the involuntary twitching is accompanied by eye pain, vision changes, or facial spasms, go see a doctor as soon as possible.
For more eye health tips, visit the Ophthalmology24 blog.
All medical facts are checked by Atanas Bogoev M.D.