Just about everyone has or will experience eye twitching, even for just a brief moment. An eyelid twitch or spasm is typically nothing to worry about, but when it happens frequently, it interferes with vision and abilities. Frequent eyelid twitching can also be a sign of an underlying condition that needs attention from your eye doctor. Read on to learn more about this phenomenon and when you should see a doctor about it.
Types of Eyelid Twitching
General Eyelid Twitch (Myokymia)
If your eyelid spasms occasionally, then you’re likely experiencing myokymia. Any number of environmental factors could be causing myokymia. However, it’s not a serious problem and typically goes away with rest.
Approximately 50,000 Americans suffer from essential blepharospasm, a chronic, uncontrollable wink. Essential blepharospasm occurs in both eyes and usually develops in middle-aged and older adults. As it progresses, you may notice other symptoms, including blurry vision, light sensitivity, and facial spasms.
Only experiencing frequent eye twitching in one eye? It may be hemifacial spasms, a type of neuromuscular disorder. Hemifacial spasms typically occur when a blood vessel puts too much pressure on one of your facial nerves. Leaving this untreated can result in constant, uncontrollable eye twitching, an inability to open your eye, and twitching in all muscles of one side of your face.
Causes of Eyelid Twitching
Some lifestyle choices and other factors can increase the frequency and severity of eye twitches. While you can control some of these, others may be harder to change or avoid. Ask your eye doctor about possible solutions that may prevent eye twitching.
- Eye Irritation
- Bright lights/ light sensitivity
- Alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine use
How to Treat a Twitching Eye
Sometimes getting proper sleep or cutting down on excess alcohol, caffeine, or tobacco can help. Before seeking medical help, you can try some of these suggestions.
- Drink less caffeine — go with one cup of coffee instead of two or three per day.
- Get adequate sleep — aim for eight hours a night, or squeeze in a nap if possible.
- Use over-the-counter artificial tears or eye drops — keep your eye surfaces lubricated.
- Applying a warm compress to your eyes — when spasms begin, grab your warm compress and relax.
When to See a Doctor for Eyelid Twitching
Are your eyes twitching despite the above suggestions? Then you should see your eye doctor to find out if there’s an underlying cause at play. Other ways to tell if it’s time to see your eye doctor include:
- Your eye is red, swollen, or has an unusual discharge
- Your upper eyelid is drooping
- Your eyelid completely closes each time your eyelids twitch
- The twitching continues for several weeks.
- The twitching affects other parts of your face
Keep Eye Twitching in Check
Eyelid twitching is something most people experience at least once in their lifetime. It doesn’t usually last more than a few moments in mild cases. However, more severe cases may lead to uncontrollable twitching and vision issues. If you’re experiencing frequent eye twitching, see your doctor before symptoms worsen.
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