The body has unique ways of telling you when something is not quite right.
Eye twitching is a common occurrence, however, if it becomes frequent and noticeable then you may become worried and start wondering what your body is trying to tell you
Types Of Eye Twitching
Eye twitching, sometimes known as eye spasms can happen in a number of ways. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common types of eye twitching you may have experienced:
Eyelid Spasms (Myokymia)
The most common type of eye spasm is likely to affect everyone at some point in their life.
Myokymia may affect the bottom and top eyelid, although it usually only causes twitching in one eye at a time.
Although this eyelid spasm can be uncomfortable and annoying, in mild cases it is usually self-resolving and should disappear after a few hours, and in some cases a few days.
Unlike common eyelid twitching, blepharospasms normally affect both eyes at the same time.
This type of eyelid twitching starts off as rapid blinking which can lead to periods where the eyelids are squeezed closed.
Blepharospasms are rare, however, they can have a big impact on one’s comfort and can have an impact on day-to-day activities.
Hemifacial spasms are more debilitating than blepharospasms and myokymia.
This type of muscle spasm actually involves the contraction of all of the facial muscles down one side of the face. Not only does the eye close, but the muscles in the cheek, mouth, and neck also spasm, causing irritability and discomfort.
The hemifacial spasm is involuntary and could have been caused by a facial injury or may have a more serious cause. It is always advised to check with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
What Causes Eye Twitching?
As we’ve already discussed, eye twitching is a common occurrence, and usually nothing to worry about. Here are the six most common reasons your eye might be twitching:
A lack of sleep can trigger a twitching eyelid so make sure you rest up and get enough sleep.
Stress is probably the most common reason eyes twitch and it can cause our bodies to act in very strange ways.
Twitching eye can sometimes be one of the signs that you’re under stress, especially when it’s related to vision problems such as eye strain.
3. Eye Strain
Even very minor eye strain can make your eyes work too hard and trigger eyelid twitching so It’s important to have regular eye examinations to get your vision checked and if you wear glasses or contacts, keep your prescription updated.
4. Computer eye strain
We are all guilty of spending too long on our smartphones and tablets these days but overuse on devices like these is another common cause of eyelid twitching. If you find yourself with computer eye strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule. This means that every 20 minutes, look away from the screen and allow your eyes to focus on a distant object, at least 20 feet away, for 20 seconds or longer – this helps reduce eye muscle fatigue.
5. Dry eyes
Dry eyes are very common, especially when you reach the age of 50+. Dry eyes are also common with those who spend the majority of the day staring at a computer and for those who wear contact lenses.
If you have a twitching eyelid and your eyes feel gritty or dry, book in for an eye examination. Restoring moisture to the surface of your eye may stop the spasm and decrease the risk of twitching in the future.
6. Too much alcohol/caffeine
Too much alcohol or caffeine can also trigger eye twitches so try to cut back on these if the symptoms persist.
How To Stop Eye Twitching
Eye twitching can be annoying and uncomfortable, and with symptoms lasting anywhere between a few hours to several weeks, it can have a real impact on your daily life.
In most cases, a minor eyelid twitch doesn’t require treatment and will go away on its own.
In its most serious, yet uncommon form, eye twitching can become chronic and cause persistent winking and squinting. If it progresses to the point where you have difficulty keeping your eyes open, it can cause severe vision problems.
If these symptoms persist, then go to the eye doctor for an evaluation. If your eyelid spasms are happening more frequently over time, keep a journal and note when they occur. Note your intake of caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol, as well as your level of stress and how much sleep you’ve been getting in the periods leading up to and during the eyelid twitching.
You can also try a warm compress to relax the muscles around the eye.
There haven’t been extensive studies into eye twitching, and we haven’t quite figured out exactly what the exact cause is, but they can typically be resolved by achieving a better sleep pattern/getting enough sleep, cutting down on your coffee consumption, or using meditation to relax might help reduce the effects of eye twitching.
So don’t get stressed about a little twitch, but if symptoms persist and are bothering you, see your doctor to rule out a more serious eye and neurological problems.
Here are a few simple ways to stop your eye from twitching:
Get A Better Sleeping Pattern
Eye twitching is often linked to a lack of sleep, so it makes sense to take steps to achieve better sleep if you’ve noticed an eye twitch. It’s difficult to determine just exactly how much sleep is required. However, it is recommended that adults get on average 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
Turning off your phone before bed, meditating or listening to calming music before bed, and not drinking caffeine before bed can all help you get better sleep.
More sleep means you’re more likely to be well-rested and have more energy and your body can stop telling you that you need to take a break.
Take Time To Yourself
Taking time out to distress and reflect can be a vital step in reducing any signs of eye twitching.
Watching your favourite film or listening to music can be an ideal way to relax, allowing your body to switch off from your busy lifestyle and restore energy supplies.
Eye twitching is common, and as we’ve already seen it can be caused by a number of factors. Taking the steps described above can go a long way to helping get rid of your eye twitch.
Try not to worry or panic about your symptoms. Eye twitching is normally harmless and it’s likely that worrying will lead to increased stress levels and therefore increased eye twitching, it’s a vicious cycle.
When Should You See A Doctor?
Normally, an eye twitch will go away on its own with no need for medical treatment.
However, there are a few occasions when you should visit a Doctor for a professional opinion:
- If your twitch lasts more than 2 weeks
- Your eye twitch ‘spreads’ to other areas such as legs or arms
- If your eye begins to feel painful rather than just uncomfortable
- If you believe a medication you’re taking is causing your twitches
What happens if the twitch doesn’t go away?
If, after seeking medical advice and following their suggestions your twitch doesn’t go away, your medical provider may take further steps to see what is the root cause of the eye twitching. They may:
- Follow up on your eye twitch if you are still displaying symptoms after several weeks
- Check your medication to see if eye twitching is a side effect
- Explore the reasons why you may be stressed or anxious and take steps to combat this
- Refer to a specialist doctor for more advice and to check if there is an underlying health condition that may be causing the twitching.
None of these steps is anything to worry about. Making sure every box is ticked will ensure you have a full understanding of what is causing your eye to twitch and will hopefully lead to a resolution.
Eye twitching is a common occurrence and normally nothing to be worried about.
Although this can be a nuisance, especially if you’ve begun to notice how often it is happening, it usually goes away on its own.
For those who are concerned about the length of their eye twitch or begin to develop other, more concerning symptoms such as pain in the eye, then contacting a medical professional is the most appropriate option.
Taking positive steps such as maintaining a regular sleeping pattern and getting more sleep, cutting down on caffeine intake, and taking time to reflect and destress are all likely to have positive effects on your eye twitch.
The most important step is not to panic, there is help available.