Causes and How to Stop Eyelid Twitching
Eyelid twitching, eyelid spasms, or tics are common and can occur to anyone. Medically known as “Myokymia” eye twitch usually involves the lower eyelid on one eye.
It can also occur on the upper eyelid. Lower eyelid twitching come and go but can in rare cases last for a week or two. Eye twitches are uncontrollable and can be one of the most irritating and irrational quirks in a human body.
But what actually makes your eye twitch and how can you stop it from happening.
Eye twitching occurs when the tiny muscles and nerves around the eye area are stimulated. Emotional stress and fatigue are said to be the major contributors to the twitching. Therefore you can simply stop or prevent the twitching from having enough sleep.
In this article, we provide some of the common cause, superstitious meanings of the twitching and how you can stop and prevent the twitching.
For constant twitching eyelid, we recommend you have to check out as this could be a sign of something serious.
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What causes your lower eyelid to twitch?
While most causes of twitching eyes are temporally and will often clear on their own, some might be serious causing one to have the twitches for a prolonged length of time.
So as mentioned, if you notice the spasms become severe or frequent, contact your healthcare provider.
According to Alberto Martinez, MD, an ophthalmologist in Bethesda Md and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, emotional stress, excess caffeine, and lack of sleep are the major and most common causes of twitching eye.
Other causes will include:
1. Emotional stress
Stress is common and everybody experiences from time to time. Though in itself stress tends to be more of a mental issue, sometimes it could have a physical manifestation one of them being lower eyelid twitching.
Managing stress through yoga, meditation, and medical treatment can help stop and prevent the spams from occurring.
2. Lack of sleep
Eye twitching is one of the common symptoms that occurs when one is tired or fatigued as a result of lack of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation notes that adults between 26-64 years require a minimum of 6 hours sleep per night.
Lack of sleep can also be a result of emotional stress which in itself can cause your eye to twitch. If the sleeplessness persists, speak to your healthcare provider to identify the cause and prescribe the right treatment.
3. Dry eyes
This is an extreme condition caused by lack of moisture in the eyes. It can result from the abnormal production of tears or when tears evaporate too fast from the eyes.
Tears are produced to lubricate the eyes and keep them comfortable.
Dry eyes can also cause redness, burning sensation and a scratchy feeling. Mild dryness can be treated with over the counter artificial tears but for chronic dryness, additional treatment may be required.
4. Eye irritation
Eye irritation, affecting the surface of the cornea, and inner eyelid can also result in them twitching. This can be exacerbated by rubbing the eyes.
The irritation can also result from external irritation such as bright light and dust from air pollution.
5. Eye strain
Eye strain together with stress and fatigue can also cause your lower or upper eyelid to twitch. Loss of vision which causes one to strain when reading or to fail to see clearly.
Your eyes can also strain from excessive use of computer or smartphone screen.
Wearing glasses or treating the eye problem can be enough to treat chronic eye twitching.
Eye allergies are known to cause itching, swelling, watery eyes. The same can also result in uncontrollable twitching of your eyelids. Antihistamine eye drops are often used in such cases to stop the twitching.
A side effect of using antihistamine is that it could cause dry eyes. Notify your healthcare provider if you notice any of such symptom.
Consuming a lot of coffee can also trigger your eye to twitch. You can prevent this by limiting your consumption of coffee, tea, chocolate and soft drink.
Also, excess consumption of alcohol can cause your eye to twitch. The twitching can be attributed to dehydration.
8. Nutritional imbalance
Research shows that lack of certain nutritional substances could also trigger your eyes or face to twitch. Vitamin deficiency is also said to be a possible cause of facial spasm.
Serious causes of eyelid twitching
Rarely, upper or lower eyelid twitching can be a sign of a more serious brain or nerve disorder.
In such cases, the twitching will often be accompanied by other unwanted symptoms. Common such conditions will include the following:
a) Parkinson’s disease
This is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement.
This condition starts gradually with a barely noticeable tremor in one hand. Other symptoms will include stiffness or slowing of movement.
b) Tourette’s syndrome
This is a disorder that involves repetitive movements and unwanted sounds that can’t easily be controlled. With this condition, one can:
- Repeatedly blink the eyes
- Shrug the shoulders or
- Blurt out unusual sounds and offensive words
c) Multiple sclerosis
MS is a disabling condition of the brain and the central nervous system. In this condition, the immune system attacks the protective sheath covering nerve fiber.
This can lead to a communication breakdown between your brain and the rest of your body.
When untreated this condition can cause the nerves themselves to deteriorate or become completely damaged. The signs and symptoms will vary depending on the nerve damage.
Severe cases might cause one to lose the ability to walk. There is no treatment for this condition.
d) Conjunctivitis or pink eye
This is the inflammation of the conjunctiva. The inflammation causes the eye to appear pink or red. It can also cause pain, itching, and a feeling of burning sensation. Conjunctivitis can occur in one or both your eyes.
e) Bell’s palsy syndrome
This is a type of facial paralysis that could result in an inability to control the facial muscles on the affected side of the face.
Symptoms will often vary from mild to severe and may include, twitching, weakness, loss of ability to move your facial muscles.
The actual cause of this condition is unknown, but risk factors include diabetes and recent respiratory tract infection. This syndrome is characterized by a one-sided facial drooping that comes within 72 hours.
Dystonia is a state of abnormal muscle tone that results in abnormal posture often as a result of a neurological disease or a drug side effect. With this condition, spasm and contractions may either be sustained or may come and go.
Movements are often repetitive, in most cases, they could result in unusual or awkward and at times painful postures.
Eye twitching meaning
Eyelid twitching is a repetitive and involuntary spasm of the eyelid muscles. For most people, it is common on the upper eyelid but could also occur on the lower eyelid or both your eyelids.
In most cases, the twitch is gentle and may feel like a tug on the eyelid. Episodes of upper or lower eyelid twitching are unpredictable, in some cases, the twitch may occur on and off for several days.
Eye twitching is painless and harmless but can be very annoying. When accompanied by facial twitches or uncontrollable movements, they may be a warning sign of a chronic movement disorder.
Eyelid spasm can be categorized into three:
a) Eyelid twitch, this typically a unilateral slight spas of your upper or lower eyelid.it is common and will often resolve within a few days. It is in most cases associated with lack of sleep, emotional stress and ingesting a lot of coffee.
b) Hemifacial spasm, this is characterized by involuntary closure of the eye along with muscles in the cheek, neck, and mouth. The twitching only occurs on one side of the face
c) Essential Blepharospasm, this is an involuntary condition that involves both eyes. It starts as an increased blinking then eventually leads to closing of the eyelids and squeezing of the muscles around eyes.
This condition is rare, but when it occurs, it can be very troublesome and often incapacitating. The muscle of the mouth and neck may be involved.
Under eye twitching
Eyelid twitching if often characterized by abnormal twitching of the eyelids, this can involve either the upper or lower eyes and in rare cases, both of them.
There are different types of twitching that could occur under the eye, common one includes the following:
- Minor eyelid twitch which is common and occurs instantly. This type of under eye twitching is often caused by fatigue and stress. No treatment is required as the twitching stop on their own.
- Hemifacial spasm affects only half of the face. It occurs when the blood vessels on the face nerves get compressed. The signs will start occurring under eye then move down along the face
- Essential eyelid twitching where the eyelids close involuntarily. It can last for about an hour. Early symptoms include rapid blinking, winking, and pinching in the face.
Superstition and twitching eye
Different communities have different myths and superstition that attempt to interpret the meaning of twitching eye.
The meaning will often vary from one community to the other and will depend on:
- The side of eye twitching. Right or left eye
- Upper or lower eyelid
- The geographical location
Twitching under left eye, Left lower eyelid twitching
In China, for instance, a twitching under left eye or on left lower eyelid can be a sign that you are about to revive a guest.
In India on the other hand, left eye twitching is seen as a bad omen. In some communities, when the twitching is on a woman left eye it is said to be a good sign whereas, for a man, that is a sign of bad lack.
Twitching under right eye, Right lower eyelid twitching
In India, twitching right eye can be a good sign. Most people will interpret the twitching a sign of future success, that is you are going to get money or receive good news.
Right eye twitching in China can have different meaning depending on the time of day the twitching occurs. Common ones include:
- You are likely to get an invitation
- A sign that things will turn out okay, sign of future success
- It can also be a sign of caution, warning of a possible injury or a disastrous situation
We would like to know of any superstitions you know of, in our comment section below.
Constant lower eyelid twitching
Constant lower eyelid twitching can be a sign of something serious. We recommend you have the condition diagnosed as soon as possible.
A mild case of eyelid twitching are involuntary and will often last a few minutes before they can clear, stop or go away.
In most cases, symptoms will include the following:
- Rapid or excessive eye blinking, this can be in one eye or both of them
- Muscles movement on face and around eye
- Dry eyes
- Increased sensitivity to sun
As mentioned, constant eyelid twitching needs to be examined. In rare cases, lower or upper eyelid spasm can be a symptom of a more serious brain or nerve disorder.
In such case, the spasm or twitch will most certainly be accompanied by other symptoms.
Treating eye twitches
mild cases of eye twitching will require no treatment as they clear on their own. In rare cases, treatment may be required to alleviate the symptoms.
You can treat the twitching by reducing stress, applying a warm compress and lubricating dry eyes, with artificial tears. In other cases, your doctor may recommend reducing your coffee intake.
For severe cases such as those involving Blepharospasm, the twitching can be treated with different medication. A common option will include injection of botulinum toxin and surgery.
Small quantities of Botulinum toxin into the muscles around the eye are the most recommended option to stop the spasm. The injections are said to wear off after some time, they will need to be repeated 3-4 times each year. Side effects include drooping of the eye and double vision.
Botulinum toxin injection can also be used to treat hemifacial spasm. Other treatment option for this condition may include microvascular decompression. It is a major neurosurgical operation with possibilities of serious complications.
How to stop lower eyelid twitching
You need not worry about your right or left eyelid twitching. In most cases, minor twitching will clear within a day or two. There are some things you can do to stop the twitching.
This is a form of Chinese medicine that uses pressure, rather than needles to stimulate specific points on the body. An acupuncture session can provide muscle relaxation, to alleviate certain symptoms such as twitching.
b) Warm and cold compress
A simple warm or cold compress can help calm the facial muscles thus relieving the twitching. We recommend you alternate between a cold and warm compress to see what works well for you.
c) Cutting back on coffee and alcohol
When the underlying cause of the twitching is excess consumption of coffee and alcohol, cutting back on their consumption is the best way to stop the twitching.
Contact your health care provider if, even after doing that the spasm does not go away.
d) Have enough sleep
A regular bedtime routine according to the national health services, will help you wind down and prepare for bed. The routine may vary depending on what you are working on.
This involves keeping regular sleeping hours to clock your bran and internal body to it.
You then do the following:
- Take a warm birth
- Do some simple relaxing excesses
- You can listen to soothing music or watch a movie or read a book
- Create a sleep-friendly environment, no TV, phone and other electronic gadgets
e) Face steam
A facial steam is an effective way to hydrate your face, open and clean the pores on your eyelid and face. Apart from stopping the witching, a face steam can also help get rid of acne pimples on the face.
f) Keep dry eyes lubricated
When a dry eye is the underlying cause of the twitching, then keeping your eye well lubricated using artificial tears and other eye drops will help stop the twitching.
- Better vision guide, 9 Causes of eye twitching: http://www.bettervisionguide.com/ss-eye-twitching/
- All about vision, Eye twitching and Eyelid twitches: http://www.bettervisionguide.com/ss-eye-twitching/
- Health line, what are eyelid twitches: https://www.healthline.com/health/eyelid-twitch#overview1
- Mayo Clinic, What triggers eye twitching: http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/eye-twitching/basics/causes/sym-20050838
- The Independent, This is what is making your eye twitch: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/this-is-what-is-making-your-eye-twitch-a6891351.html