Eye twitching is the involuntary blinking or spasm of the eyelid. It isn’t a serious problem but it can be annoying. Usually an eye twitch lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes but, occasionally, eye twitching can last for a few days. It can occur on the lower eye for some people, while others experience it on their upper eyelid.
There are several clinical names for eye twitching, among them, Blepharospasm and Myokymia. The following are some causes of eye twitching and what you can do to relieve them.
What Causes Eye Twitching
The causes of eye twitching include:
- Lack of sleep
- Excessive caffeine
- Irritation of the outer and/or inner surface of the eye
Prolonged eye twitching is most likely caused by:
- Blepharitis – an inflammation of the eyelash area that causes irritation of the eyelid
- Pink Eye – also known as bacterial or viral conjunctivitis
- Dry Eye
- Light Sensitivity
In rare cases, chronic eye twitching can be caused by a brain or nerve disorder, but it is usually associated with other signs and symptoms of these disorders.
Brain or nerve disorders that can cause chronic eye twitching are:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Bell’s Palsy
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- Dystonia and Cervical Dystonia
- Side effects from certain drugs that treat psychosis and epilepsy
Treatment of Eye Twitching
A minor eye twitch will usually go away on its own. If you are experiencing high levels of stress, stress-relieving exercises like meditation or yoga can help. If eye twitching is the result of too little sleep, try going to bed an hour earlier in the evening or take a cat nap in the afternoon, if you can.
Sometimes, simply cutting down on caffeine, alcohol or nicotine can relieve eye twitching.
Persistent eye twitching can be treated with certain vitamins that help nerve cell production and growth and balance. These include potassium, calcium, folic acid and Vitamin B.
After all other options have failed, severe cases of eye twitching can be helped by injecting Botox into the eye muscle to temporarily paralyze its movement.
Visit Your Eye Doctor
If eye twitching continues for more than two weeks, make an appointment with your eye doctor. Eye twitching caused by surface irritation related to pink eye, blepharitis or dry eye, can be easily treated with medication or eye drops. Your eye doctor can also determine if there are more serious conditions causing an eye twitch.
When it comes to eye twitching, prevention is always best. Work to relieve your stress and get as much rest as possible. If eye strain is the cause, take lots of breaks during the day to rest your eyes and reduce the intensity of your symptoms.