March 30, 2018
Eye twitching, or a spasm of the eye or the eyelid, while annoying, is common and usually is not a sign of a serious health or medical condition. Typically attributed to a number of common causes, eye twitching can be addressed, but it is important to first understand what the condition is and why it happens.
Eye twitching, or myokymia, is a series of muscle spasms occurring in the lower eyelid. As mentioned earlier, most of these muscle contractions are not serious and rarely affect your vision. If you’ve experienced eye twitching, you know that it tends to come and go; however, sometimes the condition can last several days, weeks, and in extreme cases, even several months.
There are several triggers that contribute to eye twitching, including:
Fortunately, most of the triggers that contribute to eyelid twitches or eye twitching are caused by external factors that can easily be addressed by making lifestyle-related changes; consider the following suggestions:
We all experience stress at some point in our lives, and for some, the physical result of stress is myokymia, or eye twitching. Research demonstrates that eye twitching is a common symptom of stress and is often associated with physical stress, such as eye strain.
Eye strain often occurs when there is a need for eyeglasses or a change in eyeglass prescription strength. Eye strain, even very minor eye strain, can stress the eye and cause the eyelid to spasm. The same can occur when spending an extended amount of time in from on a computer, phone, or other digital device.
To minimize the risk of eye twitching caused by eye strain, experts recommend taking periodic breaks from digital screens. Specifically, doctors recommend taking 20 to 30-second breaks every 15-20 minutes to focus on an object that is at least 15 feet away as a way of reducing eye stress and myokymia.
Exhaustion, regardless of reason, can trigger eye twitching. Sleep experts recommend 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night as a way to reduce the risk of eye twitching.
Caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant, both can contribute to eye twitching or twitching of the eyelids. If you are experiencing frequent eye twitching, experts recommend reducing your intake of chocolate, coffee, tea, and other sources of caffeine for a week or two; they offer the same recommendation for alcohol.
Several factors, including most of those mentioned above, can leave your eyes feeling dry or “gritty”, which can also contribute to twitching of the eyes. If this is the case, your eye doctor will be able to complete a dry eye exam and recommend eye drops designed to stop eye twitching by restore moisture to your eyes.
Other remedies for eye twitching might include:
Applying a warm cloth or a warm compress to the eye(s)
Gently massaging the area around the eye and the eyelid with your finger
Keep eyes lubricated with artificial tears or OTC eye drops
Relaxation techniques, including yoga, deep breathing, and meditation.
Eye twitching that lasts several weeks or months is best treated by your eye doctor, who will be able to conduct a thorough eye exam and recommend the best method to stop eye twitching.