Causes of Eye Twitching and How to Stop it
Eye twitching, an uncontrollable movement of the upper eyelids can be annoying. There are ways to prevent and reduce eye twitching depending on what’s causing it. Read on to learn more about eye twitching causes, how to stop them, and when you need to see an eye doctor.
What does it mean when your eye twitches?
Minor eye twitches are known as myokymia. These types of eyelid movements only affect the eyelid, usually resolve on their own and don’t last very long. Though annoying, mild eye twitches are usually nothing to be concerned about. If they happen often you may wonder what causes them so that you can prevent them.
What causes your eye to twitch?
There are many things that may contribute to an eyelid twitch. According to All About Vision, minor eyelid twitching can be caused or aggravated by:
- Allergies- Eyelids irritated by pet dander and pollen, may twitch
- Dry eye
- Side Effects of Medication
- Electrolyte Imbalance
- Poor Nutrition- Vitamin deficiencies can contribute to eye twitching
- Vision problems- Uncorrected refractive errors
While these eyelid spasms usually resolve on their own and are mild, more serious eye twitching can be the result of other underlying conditions. If you suspect you have a condition known as dry eye or it’s been a while since your last eye exam, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to see whether one of these conditions is contributing to your eye twitching.
When should I be worried about eye twitching?
There are more severe forms of eye twitching. These eye twitches are referred to as blepharospasms and occur when your brain can’t control your eyelid muscles the way it should.
Two conditions that cause more extreme eye twitching include:
- Benign essential blepharospasm- starts as increased blinking in both eyes and may cause eyes to shut completely once it progresses.
- Hemifacial spasms- Affects eyes as well as the rest of the facial muscles.
When To See a Doctor For Eye Twitching
If you suspect you have allergies but want to find the root cause, then you might need to see your doctor for allergy tests to avoid the allergens causing your reaction. If your eye twitching is caused by dry eye disease or vision problems or you aren’t sure, contact your eye doctor to discuss possible eye twitching causes and treatment. In cases where eye twitching lasts for weeks or is severe, an evaluation by a neuro-ophthalmologist may be necessary. In rare cases, eye twitching can be a sign of more serious neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis. In these cases, other symptoms would accompany eye twitching.
What gets rid of eye twitching?
There are things you can do to reduce mild eye twitching or stop it all together. Remedies to prevent eye twitching include:
- Just say no to Red Bull- caffeine is a known trigger for eye twitches-reducing your intake may help.
- Get some proper Zzz’s- lack of sleep and fatigue can contribute to eye twitching. Can’t sleep? Try using lavender essential oils to help you drift off faster.
- Break-up with screens- take screen breaks to reduce eye strain, fatigue and dry eye which can contribute to eye twitching.
OTC relief- OTC allergy medications (ask your doctor to recommend some) can relieve allergy eye symptoms which may contribute to eye twitching.
- Warm compresses- this can help relieve dry eye which is a known contributor to eye twitching and provide relief
- Say yes to downward dog- try yoga, read a book, take a walk, pet your dog, whatever you can do to reduce your stress response.
- Read the label- if you are taking medication and suspect it may be the cause, talk to your doctor.
- Sweat it out- in some cases eyelid twitching is aggravated by anxiety. Exercising has been proven to reduce anxiety and stress so it may help.
- Botox- for blepharospasm or more severe twitching sometimes botox is recommended to stop the muscles from twitching. In extreme cases surgery might be required.
Though there are many contributors to eye twitching and it can be irritating, for the most part it is harmless and resolves on its own. If your eye twitching is bothersome and frequent, try to eliminate some of the causes and follow the recommendations to reduce eye twitching outlined in this post. In severe cases consult your doctor to make sure there aren’t any underlying conditions that may be contributing to your eye twitching.