What Is An Eyelid Twitch?
Myokymia, more commonly known as an eyelid twitch, occurs when the eyelid muscles spasm uncontrollably. This sensation is generally felt in either the upper or lower eyelid of one eye.
An eyelid twitch can develop for a number of reasons, and can last anywhere from a few moments to several days, depending on the underlying cause.
Eyelid twitches are usually nothing to worry about, though persistent eyelid spasms can signal a more serious underlying condition.
What Causes Eyelid Twitching?
There are a range of factors that could be causing your eyelid to twitch, including:
This is the most common cause. Any type of physical or mental stress leads to the release of cortisol, a steroid hormone in the body that acts as a stimulant and puts your body into “flight or fight” mode. It can affect the nervous system in uncharacteristic ways, including making the nerves stimulate your muscles to twitch.
Have you stayed awake later than usual, or are you juggling work and family commitments? Your eyelid twitch may be a sign that your body is craving a few more hours of rest and shut eye.
Itchy, watery, irritated eyes can cause eyelid spasms.
Dry, sore eyes may sometimes lead to an eyelid twitch.
Eye muscle fatigue from prolonged reading or using a digital device can lead to blurry or double vision, dry eyes, headaches and, sometimes, an eyelid twitch.
Consuming too much caffeine can over-stimulate your mind and body, including the muscles in your eyes.
Similar to caffeine, excessive alcohol intake can have stimulating effects on your eye muscles.
According to research, a deficiency in vitamins B12 or D, or magnesium, or other electrolyte imbalance can cause an eyelid twitch.
This rare eye condition is caused by a neurological problem that leads to uncontrollable facial and eyelid spasms that generally worsen over time.These spasms may also cause an increase in blink rate and intensity.
Although uncommon, an eyelid twitch can be a symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease or Bell’s palsy.
How to Stop Your Eye Twitch
- Schedule an eye exam to find out what may be causing your eyelid twitch. Your eye doctor may prescribe glasses to relieve eye strain, or recommend dry eye treatments, Botox injections or oral medication to treat the underlying problem.
- Practice stress-relieving activities such as yoga and deep breathing exercises, or simply take some time out of your day to relax.
- Use eye drops to alleviate eye allergies or dry eye symptoms.
- Take frequent breaks from the screen and consider wearing computer glasses to reduce eye strain.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption to determine if these stimulants may be the cause of your eyelid twitch.
- Speak with your physician to find out if you can benefit from taking nutritional supplements and to rule out a neurological disorder, especially if other symptoms are present.
Although an eye twitch is generally not a cause for concern, if it persists for longer than a few days or you notice any changes to your vision, contact Dr. Boaz Schwartz, O.D., FAAO at Mt. Airy Medical Eye Center today to schedule an eye exam.
Q & A
What is dry eye syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic condition that occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough tears or the quality of your tear film is compromised. This results in a range of symptoms that may include dry, itchy, irritated eyes, and sometimes eye twitches. While mild DES can often be alleviated temporarily with over-the-counter lubricating eye drops, moderate to severe DES generally requires specialized in-office treatments.
How can I relieve eye strain after prolonged screen time?
Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, can cause a host of uncomfortable symptoms, including headaches, eye fatigue, dry eyes and blurry vision. Computer vision syndrome may cause your eyelid to twitch.
If limiting screen time isn’t practical on a daily basis, try to follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something around 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. It is also important to remember to blink frequently and to close your eyes completely. Lastly, speak to your optometrist about wearing computer glasses while you work, as they are designed to eliminate glare from the screen, and reduce eye strain.