Have you ever experienced that sudden, involuntary twitch of your eyelid? Eye twitching, also known as blepharospasm, is a common condition that affects most people at some point in their lives. While it may be harmless and temporary, in some cases, it can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.
Today, we’ll explore the causes, symptoms, and treatments for involuntary eye twitching to help you assess when to seek help. Given how often involuntary eye twitches are misdiagnosed, it’s helpful to research this information online before consulting a doctor.
In today’s society, digital screens are a leading cause of eye strain. To avoid overexposure to screens, AllAboutVision.com recommends following the 20-20-20 rule: “Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen and allow your eyes to focus on a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for 20 seconds or longer.” Eye strain may also be caused by the need for glasses or an outdated prescription, so be sure to schedule regular checkups with an optometrist.
Lack of Sleep
Sleep deprivation can result in fatigue, mood changes, and eye twitches. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that adults should get approximately 7- to 9-hours of sleep each night.
Stress has been linked to a variety of serious conditions and is also the number one cause of eye twitches. Effective remedies for alleviating stress may include yoga, breathing exercises, spending time with friends or pets, and getting more downtime into your schedule.
Alcohol and Caffeine Consumption
Experts believe that the stimulants in caffeine and/or the relaxant properties of alcohol can cause eye twitches, particularly when consumed in excess. To avoid caffeine-induced eye twitches, try reducing your caffeine intake to around one cup of coffee per day, and eliminating chocolate and caffeinated soda. As for alcohol, it may be best to cut it out entirely for a week or two to see if the eye twitching subsides.
Eye twitches can also result from dry eye, a condition that occurs when tears evaporate too quickly or the tear ducts aren’t producing enough moisture. Dry eye is more common in people over the age of 50, as well as those who use computers, take certain medications, wear contact lenses, and consume caffeine and/or alcohol. Using eye drops can alleviate eye twitches caused by dry eye.
More severe eye twitches may result from eye irritation, causing the eyelid to close completely. Eye irritation may be caused by irritation on the surface of the eye or by bright lights or air pollution. Rubbing the eyes may exacerbate this irritation.
Eye twitches may also be an indication that you’re not getting enough of certain nutrients, most commonly magnesium. Increasing your intake of magnesium-rich foods such as spinach, almonds, and oats may help, but if the eye twitch persists, a blood test may be necessary to check your magnesium levels. A magnesium supplement may also be recommended.
Nervous System Disorders
In rare cases, eye twitching may be an indicator of a more serious underlying condition, such as a nervous system disorder like Bell’s palsy, Parkinson’s, or Tourette’s. If the other suggested remedies prove ineffective, and the eye twitch continues to persist, it is recommended that you make an appointment with your doctor right away to test for these conditions.
Involuntary eye twitching can be a frustrating and uncomfortable experience, but it’s usually harmless and will go away on its own. In some cases, however, it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition, and seeking medical attention may be necessary.
By understanding the common causes and symptoms of eye twitching, and knowing when to seek professional help, you can effectively manage this condition and prevent it from negatively impacting your daily life. Remember, if you have any concerns about your eye twitching, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor.