Have you ever felt your eyelid spasm for no apparent reason?
Most people have eye twitches (or myokymia) at some point in their life and they’re usually harmless, though very annoying especially when they just won’t seem to go away. It’s usually an eye muscle firing involuntarily because your body is in a stressed and fatigued state.
However, there are a few uncommon yet more serious forms of eye twitches as well.
Understanding the underlying cause of the eye twitching is important because the best treatment for the issue is to stop the trigger. Potential causes include:
- Fatigue: It can be hard in today’s busy world to get a minimum of eight hours of sleep a night, but your body needs that time to repair itself. Catching up on your rest is the first step to eliminating eye twitches.
- Stress: Our bodies are not designed to be under the stress most of us experience on a daily basis. Taking breaks during the day, deep breathing exercise, and meditation are just a few of the ways to reduce your stress level and keep an eye twitch from firing up.
- Dry Eyes: An issue that is common as we get older and for those who use a computer all day, dry eyes can be annoying on their own but even more so when they cause an eye twitch. Your eye doctor can recommend eye drops and, if you’re a contact lens wearer, using the right kind of lenses can also help. CooperVision’s Proclear line is designed specifically to help ease discomfort from dryness due to contact lens wear.
- Use of Alcohol, Tobacco, or Caffeine: Substances that tax the body can contribute to eye twitches as well as a number of other health issues. Cutting back may help considerably.
- Allergies: Eye allergies release histamines into the eye which can cause the twitching. There are antihistamine drops your eye doctor can recommend.
- Too much Computer Use: One of the many symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome is eye twitching. This is probably because too much computer use can cause dry eyes, eye strain, and fatigue which are all triggers.
- Poor Nutrition: A variety of vitamins and minerals are responsible for proper muscle function, and eye twitches can be caused by an imbalance in these nutrients: electrolytes, vitamin B12, vitamin D, or magnesium.
More serious causes
Blepharospasm or hemifacial spasms are more serious yet less common forms of eye twitching. The first affects about 20-50,000 Americans and can be severe enough to prevent the eye from opening for several hours. The latter is very rare, affecting only 8 people in 100,000 in the US, and is caused by an artery pressing on the facial muscle nerve.
In most cases, minor eyelid twitching will go away on its own with a little rest. However, if the twitch lasts for more than a week, completely closes an eyelid, causes a drooping upper eyelid, or is accompanied by redness or swelling, consult your eye doctor.