There are various beliefs, different thoughts regarding eye twitching. Most probably, different beliefs in different countries or locations. Basically eye twitching superstition tells us that the left eye twitching indicates something bad is going to happen in our lives while right eye twitching means something good is about to happen.So don’t be superstitious, it depends upon the state of the internal body system. Eye twitch is just an involuntary spasm.
It’s not your eye that twitches, it’s your eyelid. When muscles around your eyes become weak, then twitching occurs.
What is an Eye Twitch?
Eye twitching is an involuntary, repetitive spasm of the eyelid muscles, which typically affects your eyelids, not actually your eyeball. It happens when the muscles in your eyelids contract without your control. They can be quite uncontrollable to deal with because they are uncontrollable.
Twitch usually happens in upper eyelids but they can also occur in lower eyelids too. It can affect one or both eyes.
It is quite painless, harmless. Most of them come and go away on their own without any treatment. But sometimes it can last for weeks or even months. They may bother you somehow and affect quality of life if they persist for a longer duration of time.
When your eyelid is twitching, you may feel that everyone is seeing it. But most eye twitches are slight enough that they can’t easily be seen by anyone by simply looking at your face.
Medical term for eye twitching is blepharospasm or myokymia. But the difference in these two terms depends upon the severity of the condition. Myokymia is a mild form of blepharospasm. Myokymia usually comes and resolves itself in a couple of weeks. If they persist beyond that then they can be linked to another condition called blepharospasm.
What causes Eye Twitching?
Exact cause is quite unknown. It causes problems with muscles around our eyes. However, eye twitches may be caused by the following.
- Stress : Stress seems to be one of the most common causes of eye twitching. As stress and worry trigger serious health problems too.
- Fatigue : Lack of sleep due to various reasons can trigger eyelid twitching. Stay aware.
- Eye strain : Spending a lot of time in front of digital devices like computer, laptop, smartphone and so on without applying safety measures and even minor vision problems can stress your eyes and trigger eyelid twitching. So stay alert and examine eyes with eye experts.
- Caffeine : Too much intake of coffee and other sources of caffeine can also trigger eye twitch.
- Alcohol : Experts believe that excessive consumption of alcohol also helps to arise eye twitch.
- Dry Eyes : Basically the adult population experiences dry eyes mostly after age of 50. Similarly those who spent a lot of time on digital devices also got dry eyes. Furthermore, those who take medications ( mostly antihistamines and some antidepressants) experience dry eyes. If you feel a gritty sensation,dry eyes and twitching eyes ; consult an opthalmologist immediately and keep your eyes moist and help yourself to decrease the risk of eye twitching.
- Poor Nutrition : Different vitamins and minerals play an important role in proper functioning of muscles. It is found that lack of magnesium in the body triggers eye twitching. If you are feeling nutritional deficiency then visit the hospital as soon as possible.
- Allergies : Basically histamines released by allergies causes eye itching and may trigger eyelid twitching.
If the condition becomes chronic, you can have Benign Essential Blepharospasm (BEB). It is a movement disorder(dystonia) of muscles around the eye. The cause is idiopathic but experts think that problems with basal ganglia (a part of the brain) play an important role.
Rarely, eye twitching can be sign of certain brain and nervous system disorder such as,
- Bell’s palsy (facial palsy)
- Oromandibular dystonia and facial dystonia
Furthermore, eye twitch can be a sign of following conditions too.
- Corneal abrasion
- Dry Eyes
- Light sensitivity
With time, Eventually condition may worse and can cause
- Blurry vision
- Facial spasm
- Increased light sensitivity
What are the symptoms of eye twitching?
Generally, it occurs and goes away on its own. Occasional eye twitch is common. Twitch may vary quite a bit in severity of the condition. Too much coffee, stress, fatigue, dry eyes can make the symptoms of eye twitching worse. Following symptoms can occur.
- Eye irritation
- Dry eyes
- Increased blinking rate
- Facial spasm
- Light sensitivity
How can you diagnose eye twitching?
First of all, eye care professionals will ask you certain questions regarding your health. They can ask ocular as well as systemic history. Then they will examine your eyes and nervous system too for proper diagnosis.
To rule out the exact cause of eye twitch, sometimes eye care professionals may ask to do imaging of your brain with a CT scan or MRI.
When to see an eye doctor for eye twitch?
Consult with your doctor immediately once after if you experience following.
- Twitch persists for longer duration
- Inflammation of eyelids
- Causes blurry vision
- Redness and discharge seen
- Starts to affect other areas of face
- Eyelids shut fully during spasms
- One side of the face droops
How can you treat eye twitching?
Generally, eye twitching goes away on its own after a few weeks without any medical intervention. You may not require any treatment if you don’t have any symptoms.
In case if twitch doesn’t go away on its own, you better try to decrease potential causes of eyelid twitching.
You can try following to ease out symptoms.
- Take adequate rest/ sleep
- Avoiding or decreasing caffeine or alcohol intake
- Taking precautions against eye strain
- Keep your eyes moist
- Use over the counter antihistamines( for allergies)
- Apply warm compression or gentle lid massage
In addition to this, if the condition persists, an eye doctor may give oral medications too for short term relief. But it won’t help everyone.
Similarly, Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections are also used. Doctors will inject a certain amount to eye muscles so as to ease the spasms for a few months. But this will slowly wear off and you may have to repeat it.
Furthermore, if eye twitching seems severe then doctors may suggest surgery called myectomy. In this procedure the doctor will remove certain muscles and nerves of eyelids.
How to prevent?
If you are having eye twitching frequently then notice when it actually occurs. Note the potential causes of it as discussed above.
Modify your daily lifestyle after knowing the causes of eye twitch. Reduce caffeine or alcohol intake, have proper rest, keep your eyes moist and so on.
If the condition doesn’t improve, visit the hospital immediately.
Some frequently asked questions (FAQ)
When to worry about eye twitching?
Actually you don’t need to get worried about it. It will go away on its own. Just notice potential causes of eye twitching and try to eliminate them. If twitching persists for longer duration, visit eye hospital soon.
What does left eye twitching mean?
Superstition tells that left eye twitching means something bad is about to happen in one’s life. But actually it is not like that. Twitching occurs due to the state of the internal body system.
Is it bad if your eyes twitch?
Occasional twitching is quite common . Sometimes it can happen. You can modify lifestyle; take enough rest, avoid caffeine or alcohol and other factors that trigger eyelid twitch . If it persists for long, visit an eye doctor strictly.
What is the relation between eye twitching and high blood pressure?
Twitching eye could be one of the symptoms of high blood pressure along with other symptoms. Basically, if blood pressure increases; it can cause blood vessels to palpitate which annoy nerves in eyes and cause eyelids to twitch.
Relation between Eye twitching and pregnancy?
Yes eye twitching is seen during pregnancy. Because it is due to stress. During pregnancy, mothers experience a lot of stress which affects the nervous system. And which eventually affects involuntary muscles around eyes and eyelid twitches.