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What Causes Eyelid Twitches (Myokymia) And How To Treat It

Most often people feel twitching in their eye and it is believed that something bad is going to happen. But, it is not if your eye is twitching for an extended period of time then it is a sign of a medical condition. In this article, we will discuss what causes eyelid twitching and how to treat it.

Eyelid twitch also called myokymia is a repetitive involuntary spasm that occurs in both the upper and lower eyelid muscles. Most people may experience mild spasms and it can occur every few seconds for a minute or two [1].

Most eyelid twitches are painless and harmless and may resolve on their own without the need for treatment. However, in rare cases, twitching of the eyelid can be an early warning sign of a chronic movement disorder such as facial twitches or uncontrollable movements.


What Causes Eyelid Twitches?

When the electrical activity in the brain causes the nerve cells to flash signals to the muscles, it causes spasms in the eyelids. If eyelid twitching lasts for a few minutes or for a week, it may be due to the following reasons.

  • Conjunctivitis
  • Fatigue
  • Dry eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blepharitis
  • Stress
  • Drinking excess alcohol or caffeine
  • Smoking
  • Scratched cornea
  • Ingrown eyelash
  • In addition, eyelid twitching can be due to an underlying condition such as benign essential blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm. Benign essential blepharospasm is a rare neurological disorder which causes muscle contractions and spasms around the eyes.

    Hemifacial spasm is caused when a small artery irritates a facial nerve [2].

    In rare cases, eye twitching can also be caused due to brain and nervous system disorders such as Parkinson's disease, tourette syndrome, multiple sclerosis, Bell's palsy, cervical dystonia, and dystonia.


When To See A Doctor

Eye spasms usually go away on their own within a few days or weeks when you decrease your caffeine content, lower your stress levels and take rest. But, consult a doctor immediately when you face the following problems:

  • Twitching doesn't go away within a few days or weeks
  • The eyelids are drooping
  • The eye is red or swollen
  • The eyelid is closing completely with each twitch and causing difficulty in opening the eye
  • Twitching happens in other parts of the face or body
  • Diagnosis Of Eyelid Twitches

    An ophthalmologist will ask about your medical history and ask if there are any other symptoms that you might be noticing in your body.


Treatment Of Eyelid Twitches

  • Drink less caffeine
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Apply warm water compress on your eyes when you feel a spasm
  • If you are diagnosed with blepharospasm, treatment options include botox injection, oral medications and surgery. In the case of hemifacial spasm botox injections and surgery are the two most common treatment options [3].

    Prevention Of Eyelid Twitches

    • Reduce the amount of caffeine consumption
    • Lower your stress levels
    • Get adequate sleep
Story first published: Friday, January 10, 2020, 12:06 [IST]