An eyelid twitch or tic (myokymia) is an involuntary, spontaneous, localized spasm of one or both of your upper or lower eyelids. The movement is often so swift that it is unnoticeable to others. Minor twitches that go away on their own are quite common. Most people will experience them at least once in their lifetime – especially if they are not clocking enough hours of sleep per night or if they regularly consume too much caffeine.
Possible Causes of an Eyelid Twitch
Specific lifestyle factors such as stress, fatigue, and caffeine consumption can all lead to a twitch. Learning how to effectively manage these factors can mitigate, if not eliminate, eye twitching.
Stress: When the body is stressed, a tic can develop. Relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation are great for reducing stress. If you are under a lot of stress at work, school or home, aim for 10 to 20 minutes of self-care daily. Some popular self-care rituals include exercising, journaling and taking mindful baths/showers.
Eye Strain: Prolonged computer, smartphone or tablet use may result in digital eye strain, which can cause twitches. Experts strongly encourage following the “20-20-20 rule” to alleviate discomfort. Practice looking at something 20-feet away for 20-second intervals every 20 minutes.
Too Much Caffeine: Caffeine has been linked to eye tics. Consider cutting back on your caffeine intake. For a natural energy boost, you can try herbal teas, water, matcha tea, chicory coffee, and kombucha. Tip: If considering eliminating caffeine from your diet, avoid doing so cold turkey; always do so gradually.
Fatigue: Sleep is essential for good health. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep. Foster good sleep each night by sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, practicing a relaxing bedtime ritual, installing blackout curtains, and protecting yourself from blue light by turning electronics off one to two hours before bedtime.
Other possible causes include:
- Light sensitivity
- Mineral deficiencies
- Medication side effects
- Dry eyes (keratoconjunctivitis sicca)
Fast Relief for an Eyelid Twitch
Apply a warm compress and gently massage the offending eyelid using your fingertips. Another good idea is to keep a bottle of artificial tears on hand and use them as directed when your eyes feel dry or scratchy. Artificial tears are readily available at most any big-box retailer (e.g., Walmart or Target) or at your local pharmacy.
Should I Be Concerned?
Short of being uncomfortable, most eyelid twitches are not cause for concern. While this problem varies in frequency, if the spasming is persistent, you could have what is known as essential blepharospasm or hemifacial spasms. These conditions are much less common. Rarely, chronic eyelid twitching may signal some underlying neurological condition, although other symptoms would be present. Persistent twitching should always be evaluated by an Ophthalmologist.
Whether you need to schedule an annual eye exam or require surgical vision correction to treat cataracts, you can always expect to receive compassionate, comprehensive care at Eye Physicians of North Houston. Contact us today at (281) 893-1760 for more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.