Eye Twitch

Do you ever experience a twitch of your eye that seems to come out of nowhere and wonder what that is?
 
An eyelid twitch or eyelid spasm is also known as myokymia.  It is a common condition where the muscle fibers of the upper or lower eyelid contract irregularly and involuntarily. These muscle contractions are transient and intermittent.  It can often feel as though other people can see your eyelid twitching.  More often, other people cannot see it but you can certainly feel it.  It may feel as though your eyelid is jumping, fluttering, or pulsating.  These eyelid twitches are uncontrollable and can be very annoying and distracting.  There is no way to predict how long an eye twitch will last but these muscle spasms can last anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of months.   An eye twitch is usually harmless but can have many causes and be a sign to evaluate your health and current habits.  

Common causes of eye twitching include:
-Stress
-Caffeine
-Lack of sleep
-Eye strain
-Alcohol consumption
-Dry eyes

There is no immediate cure for an eyelid twitch and these twitches go away on their own without treatment.  However, there are steps you can take that may help your symptoms.  Since stress may be a common triggering factor that causes the eye to twitch uncontrollably, there are several things to help you relax such as yoga or deep breathing exercises.  Excess caffeine consumption can also cause eye twitches.  Try reducing your coffee, tea, or soft drink intake when you are experiencing twitching.  Lack of sleep or fatigue is another common culprit of eyelid twitches.  Catch up on your sleep and evaluate if you are getting enough good quality rest.   It’s also important to rest your eyes.  If you read or stare at a computer for a long period of time, take short, frequent breaks to help reduce eye strain.  Dryness can be another cause of eyelid twitching and excessive alcohol consumption can lead to dry eye.  When the eyes are dry, they may involuntary blink as a reaction to the dryness and irritation.  Keep your eyes moisturized and lubricated with artificial tears.  Omega-3 supplements are also know to help with dryness.  

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, eye twitching generally won’t cause harm, but can be irritating if persistent.  Persistent eye twitching can be an indicator of brain or nerve disorders such as Bell’s Palsy, Parkinson’s Disease, or Multiple Sclerosis.  
    
When to seek help from your eye doctor:
-If you experience persistent eye twitching longer than a week
-If the twitching involves other facial muscles
-If the twitching involves closure of the eyelid
-If there is associated mucus discharge or drooping of the eyelid, you should see your eye doctor right away.  

It is always best to get a comprehensive eye exam to ensure there is no other eye disease.  If you are experiencing eyelid twitching, the doctors at Chelsea Eye Associates can make sure there are no other serious problems associated.  Call us at (212) 257-007 to schedule an appointment.

Chelsea Eye Associates