Most of us have experienced eye flickering before. The occasional twitch mostly due to tiredness isn’t painful and disappears very soon. But what happens when you have the eyelid twitch for an extended time on a busy day. Though mostly harmless, there is nothing worse than focusing on your work with the irksome blinking of the eye.
What is Eye Twitching or Myokymia:
An eye twitch or Myokymia is a sudden or irregular blinking of an eye due to contraction of the lower eyelid muscles. But for most people, this can be due to spasms in both upper and lower eyelids.
This spasm is generally gentle and stays only for a few minutes, however for some the irregular twitches last for hours and weeks. This frequent twitching can be an early sign of chronic eye diseases that need immediate medical help.
Types of Eye Twitches
Eye twitches are classified into 3 common categories. These categories are given below.
Minor Eyelid Twitch
The general cause for this twitch in your eyes is maybe due to fatigue, stress, or the habit of drinking caffeine. Even if everything is right outside the closing end, there might be some irritation that lies inside the membrane and cornea.
Benign Essential Blepharospasm
Majorly it is found at the beginning of adulthood. If you are habitual of blinking non-stop, the chances are high that you might be the victim of this twitch. You will face problems in the vision for several hours if it goes severe.
This one is rarer we can say. In this, the muscles stretch near the mouth and eyes. Normally, it has been observed that it affects either side of the face. Doctors believe that it is caused due to the pressing of an artery on your face.
Why do your eyes twitch frequently?
Irrespective of serious eye twitching that requires treatment from an eye doctor, minor eyelid twitches are treated with self-care and fingering out the exact causes of an eye twitch. Understanding the possible reasons for eye twitching and keeping an eye on the triggers will help you treat Myokymia is a better way:
Eyelid twitches occur involuntarily and there is again no single reason investigated yet for the causes of this spasm. While some researchers believe that eye twitching problem is caused and triggered by:
Inner Eye or eye surface Irritation:
Mild irritation around and inside of the eyelid that you might be ignoring till now, can also cause eye muscle contraction and twitching.
Vision strain or computer eye syndrome:
The digital world demands spending an extended period of time on screen. That can put a real strain on your eye and may stimulate eye twitching and irritation.
In this busy world, nearly everyone gets overtired at some point in time and it gets more serious with the insufficient amount of sleep. Eye twitching (or tic) is often a sign “your body is asking for the rest.”
Not getting enough sleep may affect your nervous system that controls muscle contraction and lead to muscle twitching. One of the common muscles that get impacted here is the eyelid.
Certain medications can fire muscle twitching. Especially drugs used to treat epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease can affect eyelid muscles.
Overexertion particularly after vigorous exercising can cause muscle fatigue. This in turn sometimes triggers twitching in arms, legs, and even eyes.
Stressed out? During the rough patch of life when you are grouchy, busy, and worn out, your eyes pay the price. Random eye spasm in one or both eyes is a common stress-caused eye issue.
Intake of caffeine, smoking, and alcohol:
Drinking too much coffee and nicotine intake (found in alcohol and smoking) impacts health and causes your muscles to twitch every now and then.
Wind and air pollution:
Environmental effects such as wind or air pollution also add to those pesky flickering. Smoke, dust, or any other foreign body entering the eye can cause an infection that leads to twitching.
Mostly for elderly people and for those who use computers all day, dry eyes are annoying and get even worse when they cause eye twitching. However, using the right kind of Prescription Glasses and eye care one can minimize dryness to ease discomfort.
Allergies and infections:
Eyelid twitching may sometimes appear in response to allergies and infections. There are cases when eyelid twitches occur with other symptoms such as red-eye, watery eye, and irritating eye. if eye twitching gets more severe and annoying, visit your doctor straight away.
Lack of a balanced diet:
Deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals can also cause muscle spasms and weakness. The imbalance of various minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and even electrolyte leads to spasms in the body including an eyelid muscle.
Some other causes of eyelid twitching include:
In some rare cases, it is observed that eyelid flickering has moved beyond annoyance and possibly due to other factors affecting eyes such as Blepharitis, Conjunctivitis, Corneal Ulcer, and Glaucoma.
A very small percentage of patients with frequent eye twitching can also develop blepharospasm. A condition of involuntary closing of an eye or both, causing trouble keeping them open for a longer time.
Is it a matter of concern?
In most cases, the majority of eye spasms/ twitching problems go away on their own in just a few days. However, if the continued muscle spasms get serious – causing you pain, completely closing of an eyelid, or accompanied with redness and inflammation, consult your doctor who can suggest you the best treatment for eye twitching. Eye spasms causing facial twitching are also a matter of concern.
Self-care to help frequent eyelid spasms:
Typically, a slight random blinking of your lower and upper eyelid is common and of no concern. It can be easily resolved by taking a close look at your lifestyle. Trying to reduce stress levels, screen time, caffeine and nicotine intake can help. It is also important to take proper rest and a balanced diet to keep your vision healthy. You can also try using a warm compress on the eye surface or a gentle massage on the closed eye to ease the constant flickering of muscles. Doctors also prescribe eye drops to slow down muscle contractions and provide relief.
Most chronic eye twitching is treated using injections to paralyze, medication to treat and surgery to relax the affected muscles.
How can you treat a twitching eye?
At the start, you may wait for it to go away on its own but if the problem persists, you should immediately see the doctor because the eyes are the very delicate organ of your body. If you are the patient, stop eating tobacco or drinking caffeine and alcohol. Benign Essential Blepharospasm is incurable however doctors may help you to relieve the symptoms using medication.
When to see a doctor?
If the self-care treatment doesn’t work and the twitch lasts longer than a few days, talk to your eye doctor. By addressing the condition and diagnosing the eye problem, he can suggest effective treatment for your eye.