Why You Have An Eye Twitch

Young woman closing one eye in response to an eye twitch.

Developing a sudden twitch in your eyelid is annoying but not uncommon. Most people experience a minor eye twitch at some point in their lives and ignore it until it passes. But why does it happen?

Here, we explore the eye twitch and how identifying the type of twitch and its underlying cause determines the best options for remedies or medical treatment. Don’t worry, eyelid twitching is very rarely a sign of a more serious condition.

Eye Twitch: What is It?

Called “blepharospasm,” eye twitching is a random, uncontrollable spasm of the muscles in one or both upper eyelids. There are three types of eye twitch:

· Minor twitch
· Benign essential blepharospasm
· Hemifacial spasm

Minor twitch is what you feel when your eyelids start spasming without warning, and it stops quickly without any intervention.

Hemifacial spasm is an uncommon neurological disorder causing twitching in various muscles, including those of the face. In this condition, it’s common for only one eyelid to twitch. Over time, movements may migrate to other muscles of the face.

Benign essential blepharospasm is also considered neurological. It begins with excessive blinking and may progress to a state in which the eyes close completely. This type of twitch is part of a group of disorders called “dystonia,” there is currently no known cause of benign essential blepharospasm.

Causes and Symptoms

Pinpointing the reasons for twitching eyelids makes the problem easier to treat. Cases of minor twitching may be caused by the following:

· Fatigue or tiredness
· Stress
· Excessive caffeine or alcohol intake
· Smoking
· Eyelid strain
· Irritation
· Side effects of medication
· Overexertion

If none of these causes apply, an eye twitch may result from an eye health problem, such as dry eye, pink eye or eyelid inflammation. Brain disorders can also cause twitching, although this is much less common than instances of minor twitching.

The only symptom is usually a slight, persistent twitching or and unpleasant “tic” sensation in the upper eyelid. In more serious cases, eyelids may snap completely open and shut. Some people experience sensitivity to light, especially in advanced cases of benign essential blepharospasm.

Eye Health Remedies for Twitching

When your eyes are twitching, the first thing you want to know is how to make it stop. Most cases of minor twitching resolve on their own, and all you can do is wait them out. However, if you haven’t been sleeping enough and are drinking a lot of coffee to stay awake, getting to bed earlier and cutting down on caffeine may help reduce the frequency of eyelid spasms. If dry eye or irritation is the cause, your eye doctor can inform you about appropriate eye drops.

Most of the time, an eye twitch doesn’t indicate poor eye health. However, if twitching persists or is accompanied by other symptoms such as swelling, redness or discharge, see your eye doctor to discuss potential causes and available treatments.

Want to learn more about your eye health?

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Contact us today for a consultation with one of our South Florida eye specialists, located in Hollywood, Weston and Pembroke Pines!