Why are my eyes twitching?
Eye twitching (blepharospasm) is caused by fatigue, stress, smoking, caffeine, medications, lack of sleep, and more.
Eye twitching, or blepharospasm, is a condition in which you cannot keep your eyes open for a long time due to spasms.
The main causes of eye twitch include
- Medication side effects (e.g., anti-depression medicines, medications for parkinsonism)
- Light sensitivity
- Lack of sleep
- Foreign particles in the eye
- Corneal irritation
What is an eye twitch?
An eye twitch is a harmless involuntary spasm of the muscle of the eyelids, which may resolve on its own. Eye twitch (blepharospasm) causes the eyelid to blink every few seconds for a minute or two.
Twitches are generally painless; however, if there is a strong spasm, it causes the eyelid to shut completely and then reopen.
What is the twitching eye an indication of?
Eye twitching is generally harmless and does not indicate any serious medical conditions. Sometimes, persistent eye twitching can be a sign of more serious conditions like:
Very rarely, eye twitching can be a sign of a nerve or brain disorder like:
- Bell’s palsy: A form of facial paralysis due to dysfunction of facial nerves
- Dystonia: Involuntary muscle contractions
- Parkinson’s disease: A brain disorder caused due to nerve cell damage
- Tourette’s syndrome: A nervous system disorder causing the person to make sudden movements
What are the different types of eye twitches?
There are three types of eye twitches, which are:
- Minor eyelid twitches: These are normal twitches commonly associated with fatigue, stress, lack of sleep, caffeine, alcohol, or corneal or conjunctival irritation.
- Benign essential blepharospasm: This results in nonstop blinking or eye irritation. As the condition advances, it can cause blurry vision, light sensitivity, and facial spasms. Benign essential blepharospasm is caused because of fatigue, stress, and bright light or wind.
- Hemifacial spasm: This rare condition affects the muscles around the mouth and the eyelid. It generally affects only one side of the face.
When should an eye twitch be treated?
Seek medical attention in the following conditions:
- Twitch that lasts for more than a week
- Eyelid closes completely
- Spasms of other facial muscles
- Redness, swelling, or discharge from the eye
- Drooping of the upper eyelid
How to stop eye twitching?
Twitches generally stop without any major effort. If it doesn’t go away, you might try these techniques to ease eye twitching:
- Get adequate rest
- Cut down alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine
- Apply a warm compress to your eyes
- Use artificial tears to keep the eye surfaces lubricated
On the other hand, the physician might inject Botox (botulinum toxin) to treat serious conditions like benign essential blepharospasm or hemifacial spasm. Botox is prescribed for temporary relief, and you should undergo repeated treatment for complete relief.
There are some alternative therapies, which include:
- Biofeedback: This technique helps to control the involuntary muscle using relaxation exercises and methods
- Acupuncture: Thin needles are inserted to the pressure points to relieve twitching
- Chiropractic: This technique involves hands-on spinal manipulation to heal twitching
- Diet management
- Tinted glass
As a last resort, the physician might perform a surgical myectomy, i.e., removal of muscle and nerve ending around your eyelid to relieve spasm.