What is eye twitching? What are clinical treatments and home remedies?
What is eye twitching? What are clinical treatments and home remedies? Eye twitching or to be more specific eyelid twitching is a repetitive, involuntary spasm of the muscles surrounding the eyelid. Eyelid twitching comes by many different names, such as blepharospasm and myokymia.
In this condition, your upper eyelid usually starts blinking, and you can’t stop it. Although, spasms occur in upper eyelid mostly, yet they can occur in both the eyelids. For most of the people, these eye twitches are harmless and just feel like a gentle tug on eyelids.
In this article, you’ll know more about eye twitching, its clinical treatments, and home remedies.
What are eye twitches?
Myokymia, or blepharospasm, or simply eye twitching, is focal dystonia manifesting as spasmodic contraction so the eyelids and spontaneous blinking. These eye twitches are unpredictable. They come and go on their own for several days. Twitches are harmless and painless, but they can be very much disturbing.
Twitches are thought to occur in the muscle called orbicularis oculi which is present within the eyelids.1
Causes of eye twitching
Spasmodic eyelid contractions have no identifiable causes. Since they are harmless and usually resolve on their own, so their cause is not investigated. However, there are certain triggering factors that can cause eye twitches:
Lack of sleep: If you’re not having a proper sleep or are suffering from insomnia, you can have eye twitches. To alleviate the blepharospasms, have a good sleep.
Alcohol, caffeine, or tobacco usage: Alcohols, caffeine, and tobacco are some of those substances that are quite heavily consumed in the West. Studies have shown that heavy consumption of such toxic substances is the cause of involuntary eye blinking in people.
Stress: It is one of the most common reasons that people experience eye twitches. Stress must be controlled by exercise, meditation, or yoga to reduce eye twitches.
Strain on eyes: Studying too long or putting too much strain on your eyes such as sitting in front of LCD screen for long triggers twitching in your eyelids. Thus, you should give your eyes a break when doing long-time work.
Dry eyes: This condition causes a variety of symptoms, and one of them is blepharospasm. Eye drops are essential to keep their eyes wet.
Poor nutrition: A diet lacking in proper electrolytes and nutrients leads to muscle twitching within the eyelids. For example, calcium or magnesium deficiency, etc. cause twitching not just in the eyes but also in other areas.
Allergies: Severe allergies cause inflammation in the eyes, and when the eyes are rubbed, inflammation increase and so twitching starts.2
Diagnosis of twitching eyes
For diagnosis of twitching eyes, your doctor may look at your eyes or do a physical exam. He or she may also need to look for certain eye conditions such as conjunctivitis, strabismus, etc. that trigger eye twitching.
Moreover, ophthalmologic instruments may be used your eye doctor to diagnose special conditions.
Clinical treatments for eye twitches
Eye blinking, as stated previously, occurs spontaneously on its own and also goes away after some time. However, to treat the underlying cause, eye twitching may need certain treatments if it persists. These treatment options include:
Use of anti-irritants: Irritation in the eyes cause eyelids to twitch. Many eye drops have been made that alleviate irritation within the eye.
Correction of vision problems: Many vision problems are also the cause of eye twitches. Correcting those vision problems resolves the problem of blepharospasm.
Adequate Sleep: Doctors advise the patient to get adequate sleep. This helps the eye muscles to get relaxed.
Botox injection: If, somehow, twitching persists, your doctor may also advise you to receive Botox injection in your eyelid muscle. Botox relaxes the muscles and alleviates spasms.3
Home remedies to prevent eye twitches
Following home remedies might help you prevent eye twitches:
- Avoid consumption of coffee or tea, which contains caffeine. Soft drinks must be avoided too.
- Always go to bed early and get a good long sleep.
- Always keep your eyes lubricated with over-the-counter eye drops. You can also use medicated eye drops as prescribed by your ophthalmologist.
Apply a warm compress with a hot towel to soothe the eyes.4
Take Away Message
Eyelid twitching can occur due to many different causes. Treatments for eye twitching are done to resolve the underlying cause or alleviate the symptoms. Usually, treatments are not done because eye twitches spontaneously resolve themselves. You must change your living style and improve your living standards to prevent future twitches. If changes to the lifestyle or following home remedies doesn't resolve eye twitches, see your doctor. There may be a serious underlying cause that needs to be clinically treated. Treating the underlying cause is the best way to help alleviate eye twitching.
1. Valls-Sole, J. & Defazio, G. Blepharospasm: Update on Epidemiology, Clinical Aspects, and Pathophysiology. Front. Neurol. 7, 45 (2016).
2. Eye Twitching | Vision Direct UK. https://www.visiondirect.co.uk/eye-care-centre/eye-twitching.
3. Eyelid Spasm and Twitching Treatment - American Academy of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/eyelid-spasm-twitch-treatment.
4. Blepharospasm - EyeWiki. https://eyewiki.org/Blepharospasm.