Eye twitching results from stimulation of the nerves and muscles around the eye area. Also known as myokymia, eye twitching can occur due to fatigue, too much caffeine, or staring at a TV or computer screen for long periods of time. Generally, eye twitching is harmless and most of the time, you are the only one who can notice it.
Causes of eyelid twitching
There are three core factors that contribute to eye twitching: caffeine consumption, stress, and fatigue.
If you’ve been noticing that your sleep has been disturbed or if you haven’t been getting enough of zzz time, you may expect daytime tiredness along with eye twitching. So if your eyelids have been bothering you lately, it may be wise to look at your sleep schedule.
Caffeine is a popular stimulant many of us drink to stay alert. But sometimes that surge of energy not only keeps you awake, but also causes your eyes to twitch. If you consume lots of coffee or even energy drinks on a daily basis, you may want to cut back in order to minimize eye twitching. Keep in mind that smoking and alcohol consumption can contribute to eye twitching, too.
Stress can play a large role in eye twitches, too. Stress-induced eye twitching can be more nerve-racking, as it may take place during important moments. For example, maybe you’re stressed out about putting a dinner party together. Well, now, not only are you trying to keep things under control, but your annoying eye twitch won’t stop either! All you can do here is handle stress at the best of your ability. And stop thinking about your eye twitch – otherwise, it will only add to the pressure of the moment. Relaxation techniques and other coping mechanisms should be utilized in order to lower stress, which in turn will reduce the eye twitch.
Although these three factors are the most common causes for eyelid twitching, other causes include mineral deficiencies like lack of magnesium, dry eyes, eye strain from looking at a screen, incorrect eye glass prescription, allergies, alcohol consumption, smoking, an underlying eye problem, jaw clenching or teeth grinding. In some cases, eye twitching can be an early symptom of a serious medical condition including hypoglycemia, Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, and neurological dysfunction. If eye twitching worsens or is accompanied by other symptoms, you should see your doctor to determine the exact cause.
Complications of eye twitching
As you can see, majority of the eye twitching causes are harmless and can be easily addressed, but in some cases, eye twitching is a symptom for another, more serious condition. Conditions which may have eye twitching as a symptom include:
- Bell’s palsy
- Dystonia – muscle spasms
- Cervical dystonia
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Tourette’s syndrome
Treatment options for eyelid twitching
Treatment options for eyelid twitching depend on the underlying cause. For example, if excessive caffeine is causing your eyelids to twitch, you may need to cut back on your favorite drink. If fatigue or stress is the cause, then more rest or effective stress-reducing remedies are needed.
You may have to work towards getting more sleep, start drinking less caffeine, apply cold compresses to your eyes, make it a point to look away from screens often, reduce stress, use artificial tears and other eye drops, and ensure you are getting adequate nutrition. These are just some ways to address eyelid twitching, but treatment may vary based on the cause.
Proper treatment of eyelid twitches may also aid with prevention. For example, if you are sleeping more and, therefore, are well rested, you may be able to get rid of your existing eye twitching problem and avoid future occurrences.
Tips to manage your eye twitching
Here are some alternative tips to help manage your eye twitching.
- Apply hot and cold compresses to the eyelid
- Try acupuncture or massages to ease tension and reduce stress
- Reduce stress as best as possible
- Reduce your intake of caffeine
- Get more sleep
- Try a face steam
When to see a doctor for eye twitching
You should see a doctor for your eye twitching if it does not go away after several weeks, your eyelid completely closes when it twitches, you have difficulty opening your eye, twitching occurs in other parts of your face, your eye gets red or swollen, you get discharge from your eye, or your eyelids begin to droop. These are indicative of a more serious eye problem that may require medical intervention.