Being in tune with your eyes is QUAY. Sight issues can make day-to-day activities like driving difficult, so it's ideal to find solutions for them ASAP. Besides long-term issues such as farsightedness, nearsightedness, and amblyopia, you may also get the occasional eye twitch. Though they're common, eye twitches can be annoying and raise concerns. So what’s the deal with eye twitches anyway? We’ve got the deets on what they are and why they happen.
What Is Eye Twitching?
An eye twitch is when your eyelid muscles repeatedly and involuntarily spasm. Eye twitches typically happen in the upper lid, but you could have them both in the upper and lower lids. In most cases, the spasms are mild, but there are more severe cases that cause both eyelids to close. Their timing can be random; you might have on-and-off episodes for days. Although twitches can be irritating and disruptive, they usually go away without intervention.
The Different Types of Eye Twitching
There are generally three kinds of eye twitches: eyelid myokymia, benign essential blepharospasm, and hemifacial spasm. Here’s a quick rundown of each type:
Eyelid myokymia: Eyelid myokymia is a mild case of eye twitching that generally doesn’t require treatment. This minor eye twitching is commonly associated with stress, fatigue, or caffeine.
Benign essential blepharospasm: Benign essential blepharospasm is more serious, consisting of sustained, involuntary contractions that can partially or completely close the eyelids. This form of eye twitching can be incredibly disruptive, and patients will often need long-term treatment. Keep in mind that it is rare, with roughly only 2,000 people diagnosed per year in the United States.
Hemifacial spasm: This rare type of eye twitching generally involves eye and mouth muscles. It usually only impacts one part of the face and is often caused by an artery pressing on a facial nerve.
Causes of Eye Twitching
What does it mean when your eye twitches? There is a bevy of reasons why your eyes might be twitching. There’s no singular cause; eye twitching could be due to many factors and conditions. It’s always best to consult a doctor if you’re concerned about how it’s impacting your everyday life. Still, it's worth considering whether or not these common factors might be the culprit behind that irritating eye twitch.
Stress is commonly linked to eye twitching, and reducing stress can potentially help the twitching subside. Consider practicing stress management techniques such as deep breathing, task delegation, and stress-relieving hobbies to dial down your stress levels. Ensuring that you get enough restorative rest is also a must; fatigue is also linked to eye twitching. If you experience sleep issues, it may help to speak with a sleep specialist.
If you’re frequently downing a cup of joe, consider switching to decaf. Caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate, is a stimulant that can trigger or aggravate eye twitching. Reducing your coffee intake (or perhaps even eliminating it entirely) can help ease eye twitching symptoms.
Allergies and Irritation
Sometimes, eye twitching can be a response to eye irritation. Dry eye, which can be due to eye strain, is commonly associated with eye twitching. Allergens, such as ragweed, can also trigger the eyes to release histamine and make them water and itch. As you rub your eyes more, this movement can irritate your eye muscles and trigger twitching. Artificial tears and warm compresses can help alleviate twitching.
Nervous System Issues
In rare cases, conditions related to the brain or nervous system can contribute to eye twitching. Some potential issues include Parkinson's disease, brain damage, multiple sclerosis, and Bell palsy. With these issues, you should get in touch with your healthcare provider ASAP — more on that below.
When to Worry About Eye Twitching
The good news is that minor eye twitching tends to go away between a few days to a week. In many cases, it can be improved by cutting back your stress levels and caffeine intake. However, there are definitely clear signs for when you should contact your doctor:
It lasts a long time. In terms of length, it's a good idea to see your doctor if the eye twitching lasts several weeks.
It is accompanied by other eye symptoms. You should book an appointment if you also experience eyelid drooping, redness, swelling, or discharge.
It closes your eyes. It’s a cause for concern if the twitching shuts your eye or makes it hard to open it.
There is widespread twitching. If you notice twitching happening on other parts of your face or body, get in touch with your provider.
In more severe cases of eye twitching, potential treatments may include Botox injections, medications, and surgery.
Being mindful of your eye health means paying attention to changes in your vision or eye movements. One way you can give your eyes the love they deserve is by wearing corrective lenses so that they can see with crystal-clear views. And why not do it in style? Shop prescription glasses from QUAYRx to turn heads your way as you get your vision in focus.