Eye twitching is an involuntary, abnormal blinking of your eyelid. The eyelid may twitch more frequently towards the end of the day, but if it becomes too frequent it can affect your vision.
Your eyes on average, blink 15-20 times per minute, and are constantly working hard to keep functioning properly.
What Causes Eye Twitching?
There are many contributing factors that cause the eye to twitch. Whether it be your diet, sleeping pattern or a damaged nerve, it can cause frustration and irritation. This is known as ocular myokymia and is benign. Usually, it is caused by too much caffeine, stress, lack of sleep, and even lack of B12 and magnesium in your diet. One cause of frequent eye twitching is a condition called benign essential blepharospasm. This is when both eyes close or twitch at the same time. Researchers aren’t sure exactly what causes it, but it can cause problems with the muscle group around your eyes.
More serious eye twitches to look out for can be related to the brain or nervous system. These problems include the following:
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Brain damage from inflammation or a stroke
- Reaction to certain mental health medicines
- Meige Syndrome (Nervous system movement disorder)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Hemifacial Spasm
- Bell Palsy
What Are Symptoms of Eye Twitching?
Eye twitching is different for everyone. Some people experience eye twitches frequently, others experience them less frequently. You may have eyelid spasms for up to a week, and then some people may experience them once every few months.
In addition to eyelid twitches, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Eye irritation
- Increased rate of blinking
- Light sensitivity
- Dry eyes
- Vision problems
- Facial spasms
How Is An Eye Twitch Diagnosed?
Your eye doctor will ask you questions about your health history and complete a physical exam to look for causes of the eye twitching. This includes a full eye exam and eye exercises to test how the eye muscles are working. If it requires further care, you will be referred on to an ophthalmologist. Otherwise, the optometrist will diagnose you with benign essential blepharospasm or hemifacial spasm of the eye.
How Is Eye Twitching Treated?
You may not need treatment if you don’t have a lot of symptoms from eye twitching. You will notice less symptoms when reducing caffeine intake and getting more sleep as well.
If your eye twitch is causing problems, your optometrist may suggest an injection into the muscles of your eyelids. This may paralyse the muscle that is contracting.
If symptoms persist, there is also the option of surgery. This is called myectomy and the doctor will remove some nerves and muscle of your eyelids. This stops symptoms in many people.
Complications of Eyelid Twitching
If the eye twitching is chromic and severe, it can permanently damage your eyelids and other structures in the area. This can cause problems such as:
- Upper eyelid resting lower than normal
- Eyebrows resting lower than normal
- Extra skin in the upper or lower eye
- Abnormal folding in of the eyelids
If you are experiencing abnormal eye twitching, book an appointment to see our optometrist, Paul Fotkou.