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Why Is My Eye Twitching?

February 18, 2020

Who hasn’t had the annoying eyelid twitch that comes on for no apparent reason, and disappears equally randomly? Benign (not harmful, or the effect of something more serious) eyelid twitching is diagnosed when one of your eyelids contracts, or squeezes very briefly. It doesn’t obstruct vision but is noticeable and bothersome. It can last minutes to days and can be unsettling because we wonder if it’s a sign of something worse. Often, others can see the twitch, but if you look in a mirror, the movement of your eyelid can be less obvious than it feels. Usually, it’s the upper eyelid, and just one eye at a time. The vast majority of the time, there’s no identifiable reason for the twitch, and it’s not a sign of anything more serious, such as a neurologic condition or a tumor.

How Can I Get the Twitching to Stop?

Eyelid twitching, called myokymia in medical terms, has been attributed to dry eyes, lack of sleep, dehydration, too much caffeine, calcium imbalance, eye strain, stress, alcohol, and allergies. Rectifying any of the above theoretically might improve the situation, but it’s often mysterious. So try the easy things first: drink some water, tea, or sports drink. Get a good night’s sleep, put some artificial tears in your eyes, take out your contacts, cut back a tad on the cup o’ joe, or take a personal day

However, if eyelid twitching persists, a routine eye exam with your Eyecare professional is called for. If everything looks healthy, it will at least relieve some of the stress caused by eyelid twitching that’s caused by stress! And you need an eye exam every year or two anyway to ensure good eye health.

Can LASIK Help?

I’ll put in a pitch here for LASIK: if your eyelid twitching is due to the irritation of contact lenses, why not schedule your free LASIK evaluation at SharpeVision MODERN LASIK? See what I did there?

What if the Twitching Persists?

Rarely, eyelid twitching is a sign of a neurological condition such as hemifacial spasm, or essential blepharospasm. Hemifacial spasm is diagnosed when the muscles on one side of your face contract uncontrollably and can be a sign of pressure on the nerves supplying the facial muscles. If this is occurring, it needs to be further evaluated. Talk to your primary care doctor first, who may refer you for further evaluation. Essential blepharospasm is diagnosed when the muscles around your eyes squeeze tightly shut for several seconds at a time. This can be debilitating, as it’s both socially painful, and can prevent vision for driving a car. Fortunately, Botox has been fairly effective in treating this condition. There are support groups for this fairly common and debilitating condition: https://www.blepharospasm.org/index.html

I hope this helps, and that you’re free of annoying eyelid twitching by the time you’ve read this far.

– Dr. Matthew Sharpe, MD