What are eyelid twitches?
An eyelid twitch, or myokymia, refers to a repetitive, involuntary spasm of the eyelid muscles. A twitch usually occurs in the upper lid, but it can occur in both the upper and lower lids. For most people, these spasms are mild and feel like a gentle tug on the eyelid.
Others may experience a spasm strong enough to force both eyelids to close completely. This is a different condition called blepharospasm. These spasms typically occur every few seconds for a minute or two.
Episodes of eyelid twitching are unpredictable. The twitch may occur off and on for several days. Then, you may not experience any twitching for weeks or even months. In rare cases, eyelid spasms may be an early warning sign of a chronic movement disorder, especially if the spasms are accompanied by other facial twitches or uncontrollable movements.
Why is my eyelid twitching?
According to Cleveland Clinic, eyelid twitching is usually not a sign of a serious health problem, but in some cases, it can be a serious inconvenience. Fortunately, eyelid twitches frequently stop on their own, without any treatment.
Medical conditions that can cause your eyelid (or both of your eyelids) to twitch include:
- Blepharospasm: A condition in the nervous system that causes increased blinking and involuntary closing of both eyes. Blepharospasm is sometimes linked to a problem in a part of the brain called the basal ganglia, and this can be inherited.
- Hemifacial spasm: This condition causes contractions of muscles on one side of the face, including the eyelids. Hemifacial spasm is believed to be caused by an irritation of the facial nerve.
- Eyelid myokymia: Another condition that usually involves one eye and is less forceful than blepharospasm.
What causes eyelid twitching?
A variety of factors can cause twitching apart from the medical conditions previously mentioned. These conditions can include:
- Irritation or dryness of the eyes
- Lack of sleep
- Too much stress
- Too much caffeine
How To Stop Eye Twitching
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there are some steps you can take to make it go away:
Settle in for a snooze: Eyelid twitches often happen to people when they are overly tired. Get some restorative sleep.
Step back from stress: Being under stress can lead to a twitch. If you can’t eliminate something causing you stress, find stress-reducing activities to help get rid of the twitch.
Cut back on caffeine: As a stimulant, caffeine can cause eyelid spasms. Limiting your coffee, tea or soda intake may help to reduce eyelid twitching.
“Moisturize” the eyes: In some cases, having irritated or dry eyes can lead to eyelid spasms.
If you have ongoing eyelid twitching and/or gritty, uncomfortable eyes, see your ophthalmologist.