Everything You Should Know About Eyelid Twitches

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 27-Oct-2014

Though annoying, eyelid twitches are a common and typically harmless eye condition. An eyelid twitch (called blepharospasm) is a repetitive, involuntary spasm in the eyelid muscles. In most cases, twitches or spasms in the eyelid occur off and on, although some people may experience them for several days or weeks.

Although eyelid twitching is usually benign and not a sign of a medical problem, it can be hard to treat. Understanding the underlying cause of the twitch is generally the best way to stop the annoying muscle spasms.

Causes and treatments of eyelid twitching

Most commonly, eyelid twitching is triggered by factors including:

  • stress
  • fatigue or lack of sleep
  • eye or eyelid irritation
  • eyestrain
  • caffeine, tobacco or alcohol
  • side effect of medication

If you can determine the underlying cause of your eyelid twitch, such as stress, and treat it appropriately, you should find relief from this pesky condition. Getting more sleep, drinking less caffeine, keeping your eyes lubricated with over-the-counter artificial tears and applying a warm compress to the eye can all help reduce eyelid twitching.

In rare cases, eyelid spasms can be a warning sign of a chronic movement disorder, brain or nerve disorder. These more serious conditions are typically accompanied by other symptoms, such as other uncontrollable movements or facial twitches, Bell’s palsy, Parkinson’s disease or Tourette syndrome.

An eyelid twitch should be considered a medical emergency if it is accompanied by:

• red or swollen eyes
• unusual discharge
• eyelid dropping
• twitching in other parts of the face
• twitching that has continued for several weeks

If you are experiencing these symptoms and chronic eyelid spasms, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Approximately 50,000 Americans are affected by benign essential blepharospasm, or chronic and uncontrollable eyelid movement. Though the exact cause of this condition is unknown, stress, fatigue, dry eyes, inflammation of the eyelid, conjunctivitis and other factors can exacerbate symptoms.

Benign essential blepharospasm can sometimes be treated with Botox injections. The injections work to ease muscle spasms. Botox treatment for an eyelid twitch will usually wear off, requiring further injections. In severe cases of chronic eyelid twitching, you may need surgery to remove some of the muscles and nerves in the eyelid.

Preventing eyelid twitching

If you experience frequent eyelid twitching, keep a journal to note when your eyelid twitches occur. Are you tired or stressed? Have you had too much caffeine or alcohol? If you notice a correlation between your eyelid twitch and stress, fatigue, or caffeine or alcohol consumption, make adjustments in your lifestyle to help ease the condition.

Categories: Eye Conditions, Eye Health
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