People with eye twitches might seem well-rested because they’re getting in their 40 winks. Saying that, an eye twitch is enough to drive you bonkers if you’re trying to focus on work or watch a movie. But should you worry?
When to worry about an eye twitch
Atypical eyelid spasms are usually harmless, and anyone can have them. But the American Academy of Ophthalmology says that they’re more common in both adult and older adult females.
Involuntary and atypical eyelid twitches usually resolve without treatment.
However, if your eye has been twitching for more than 2 weeks or is unbearable, call a doctor to rule out any of the below conditions.
Although these pesky eyelid spasms don’t hurt, they can feel annoying, especially if they last for several days or longer.
This involuntary flickering and fluttering happens to most peeps’ peepers at some point and is usually nothing to worry about.
However, if it happens all the time, your twitchy eye could signal an underlying condition. Let’s take a look at the missing wink.
Rarely, your involuntary winking eye could be a symptom of a brain or nerve condition, including:
- Bell’s palsy
- brain injury from inflammation or stroke
- cervical dystonia
- hemifacial spasm
- Meige syndrome
- multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Tourette syndrome
If you have one of these health conditions, you’ll likely have other symptoms alongside the eye twitch, like extremely irritating backup dancers.
So, if your eye is twitching solo and goes away after a while, don’t panic.
You won’t often know what causes an eye twitch. But these conditions can be behind it in rare cases.
Benign essential blepharospasm
This chronic condition causes both eyes to twitch uncontrollably at the same time. Researchers still don’t know the exact cause but classify it as a type of dystonia or muscle movement condition.
Dystonia can potentially affect any part of the body at any age. Although, peeps who are 50 to 70 years old have a higher risk of developing dystonia. MedlinePlus says that it occurs in females almost twice as often as in males.
Around 20 to 30 percent of people with blepharospasm have a family history of the condition. Blepharospasm is more common in people who experience:
- a stressful lifestyle
- eyestrain from reading, watching television, or using smartphones or computer screens
- certain psychiatric conditions like depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- bright lights
- dry eye
Blepharospasm may get worse over time, eventually leading to blurred vision and an increased sensitivity to light.
Bell’s palsy is a temporary paralysis on one side of your face that can cause eye twitching, although it can affect both sides.
Symptoms appear over 48 to 72 hours and improve after a few weeks. You may or may not need treatment. Keep an… eye on it?
Conditions that affect your central nervous system like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease can cause eye twitches.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition that affects your central nervous system. If MS is behind your eye twitch, you’ll likely have other symptoms like fatigue, muscle weakness, and body spasms.
Facial spasms and eye twitching could be early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, a progressive condition that affects the nervous system. Some medication for Parkinson’s can also cause eye twitches.
In this rare neurological condition, the facial muscles contract and spasm —and occasionally muscles in the neck, arms, and legs, too. No-one’s sure of its causes, and the condition usually begins in adulthood.
Hemifacial spasm is a muscle and nerve condition that involves spasms on one side of your face. It typically affects adult and older females and is more common in people of Asian descent. You can have surgery to relieve pressure on affected nerves or Botox to treat hemifacial spasm.
Tourette syndrome is a nervous system condition that causes uncontrollable movements and sounds.
If you’ve got Tourette syndrome, you might blink uncontrollably or have eye twitches. There is currently no cure for the condition, but some medications may help with the symptoms.
🎤 Cos every little thing’s… gonna be alright… 🎼
Most of the time, eye twitching is nothing to worry about.
But it’s often unpredictable. You might go years without noticing any atypical eye movement and then BAM! Eye twitching for several days or longer.
Although it’s frustrating, typically, the condition is nothing to stress about. (Stress can actually trigger it, so just chill, OK?)
A common culprit behind eyelid twitching is ocular myokymia. This harmless condition usually happens because you’ve overdone the caffeine and booze, or you’re feeling tired or stressed.
Some people find that bright light and strong winds can also set it off (so try to avoid farting in the club).
If you wear glasses or contact lenses, the bothersome eye twitch could be telling you it’s time for a new prescription. Check in with your eye doc and follow their recommendations. (Eye, eye, Captain!)
Thankfully, an eye twitch is often only a minor annoyance. Send ol’ twitchy eye on its way with the following tips.
Reduce your caffeine intake
Some bad news if you’re one of those peeps who need caffeine to get out of bed and through the morning: You may need to knock your stimulant habit on the head for now.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the FDA suggests that you shouldn’t consume over 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine daily. More than that, and you experience side effects — including eye twitching. Just so you know, your average 480-gram cup of perky brew taps you up with around 192 mg of caffeine.
Everyone reacts differently to caffeine, but you may want to cut back if you find it gives you the eye jitters.
Catch some Zzz’s
Eyelid spasms may happen when you are super-duper tired. Try to make sure you get enough sleep or take a nap when your eyes start to feel droopy.
If you struggle with snoozage, we’ve got some tips that might help you sleep.
Send stress packing
Stress is a major contributing factor to eyelid twitch. To soothe the spasm, you need to relieve tension in your life. If it’s hard to escape the causes of stress (because life comes at you fast), consider finding an activity that helps relieve it.
There are plenty of free or low-cost ways to boost your well-being and lower stress levels. Consider taking a walk, spending time in nature, or doing online yoga and mindfulness classes.
The simple act of taking part in an activity you enjoy, like reading a book or watching a movie that makes you laugh, can be enough to relieve stress and stop that eyelid a-twitching. And also it’ll just feel heckin’ great.
Lube those peepers
Dry or irritated eyes can cause eyelid spasms.
Using artificial tears (no, pretending to cry when you don’t get your way doesn’t count) or moisturizing eye drops may help ease annoying eye twitches.
Ask the doc
Some medications contribute to an eye twitch.
If in doubt, look at the side effects listed on the packaging and chat with your doc. You might be able to take different medications that wouldn’t have the same irritating effects.
If you’re not trying to purvey secret information or flirt, an unplanned winky eye is annoying — but very common.
Most of the time, an eye twitch is nothing more than an irritation that you can sort out by laying off the coffee, chilling out, or having a restorative nap.
Sometimes an eye twitch can point to an underlying health condition. If your eye twitch is becoming a concern for you or has been going on for several weeks, speak with a health pro to see if there’s something else going on.