What is eye twitching and the causes of it

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What is eye twitching and the causes of it

Are you worried about why your eye twitches occasionally? Let us tell you this is a common condition, and causes NO harm to your vision. Read to know more about it.

The involuntary and abnormal act of eye blinking is also known as eye twitching. If you have ever had an eyelid twitch for an extended period of time, you know how annoying it can be. It is when you feel a spasm or slight movement of your upper or lower eyelid. This can occur in either eye or both, and can go on for a minute, hours or several times in a day. 

Almost all eye twitching is harmless, but only if an eye twitch persists, it could signal a serious neurological condition that should be diagnosed and treated by an eye doctor. 

eye twitching
Daily eye care is important. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

We have Dr Rahul Singh, Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, NIMS, who tells HealthShots what eye twitching is, and why it exactly happens. 

So what does it mean when your eye twitches?

Dr Singh says, “An eyelid twitch, or tic, or myokymia, is an involuntary, painless movement of the eyelid. These are minor and recurring movements that are not accompanied with blurry vision, unusual light sensitivity, and facial spasms. They go away without treatment. The twitches may occur at any time with no fixed on and off period, and usually involve an eye and an eyelid at a time.”

Eye twitches are completely harmless —but are super annoying! There’s no need to worry about your vision or why only your left or right eye keeps twitching. 

When should you see a doctor for eye twitching?

This condition typically affects both eyes or one, and is rarely an indication of a serious disease. The twitches may occur with no identifiable reason. “But fatigue, stress, inadequate sleep, physical exertion, or medication side effects, especially those that treat psychosis and epilepsy, stress, smoking, excessive intake of alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine, bright light, wind, or air pollution may be the cause of worsening eye twitches,” says Dr Singh. 

How can you get your eye to stop twitching?

Follow these tips to stop twitching in your eyes:

  • Try to get sufficient sleep
  • Reduce stress levels
  • Curtail smoking, alcohol, and caffeine
  • Avoid artificial tears and warm compress.

Dr Rahul says, “If twitches appear to be getting worse, contact your ophthalmologist to rule out blepharitis, or conjunctivitis, dry eyes, and signs of nervous system involvement.” 

eye twitching
Eye twitching can have causes that aren’t due to underlying disease. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Look out for these signs of worsening eye twitching:
  • Eye twitching that lasts over a week
  • Complete closure of eyelids
  • Facial muscles involvement
  • Drooping of the upper eyelid
  • Eye redness, swelling, or discharge.
In rare cases, eye twitching can turn out to be a serious condition

Dr Rahul says, “Seldom, these twitches become chronic conditions known as benign essential blepharospasm. This condition accompanies unusual sensitivity to light, blurry vision, and involves facial muscles too. Botulinum toxin (botox) and myectomy are the treatment options available.”

On rare occasions, disorders like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Bell’s palsy, Tourette’s syndrome, or dystonia can also cause eyelid twitching. 

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