Why does my Eye Twitch?

Constant blinking, uncontrollable twitching, or blepharospasm all engage a problem so common, but at the same time so troubling for everyday life and self-image.

What it really is, is a repetitive movement of the eyelid that is characterized by being involuntary, which means, the person suffering it cannot make it stop at will. Twitching usually appears in clusters, every few seconds for approximately one or two minutes.

Everybody has seen somebody with this problem, or gone through it at some point of their life. Sometimes without any previous signs one of your eyelids starts to move at its own will. Well, the good news is that Twitching doesn’t represent a disease on its own.

Periocular muscles are responsible for these spasms. The cause of blepharospasm or eye twitching is still unknown to date. Some studies have shown it might be related to other different alterations that affect the eye, including those alterations that generate redness or irritation, such as conjunctivitis, for example. On the other hand, it has been related to diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, which is a neurological disease characterized by the generation of various muscle spasms.

Symptoms include uncontrollable blinking and closure of the eyes that can be perceived by the person or others. In more severe cases, some patients may not even be able to open their eyes. Twitching can be worsen by tiredness, bright lights, stress, dehydration, or anxiety. And most times, disappear without leaving any sequels.

Its frequency can vary, although blepharospasm is more common in women than in men. There has been evidence that it may run in some families, which makes a genetical alteration a possible origin for this issue.

Treatment varies as well, it consists on type A botulinic toxins injections on palpebral muscles, which often times must be repeated. Aside from injections, ansiolitics may be useful in these cases. Surgery is sometimes an option, consisting on surgical cuts on periorbital muscles, but in spite of the potential complications, it is only considered when the botulinic toxin injections fail. Sunglasses may also help diminish photosensitivity, which can cause eye twitching as well.

When the crisis appears, it is recommended to reduce activities that generate stress, increase sleep hours, and diminish caffeine intake and lubricating the eyes with some kind of eye drops. Alcohol should be avoided, or at least reduced, as well as caffeine or foods that contain caffeine such as tea or energy drinks. An optimal balanced nutrition program can be provided by your doctor.

When to consult your doctor:

-When eye twitching doesn’t go away after a week.

-When  eye twitches makes the eye close completely

-The spasm affects other parts of the face

-When the eye presents redness, swelling, or secretion.

Being as common as it is, more severe cases are very odd. These conditions may cause one half of the face to spasm and they are signs of neurological affection. For example, compression of the seventh cranial nerve. 

People suffering Tourette’s syndrome and other neurological disorders can cause these types of muscle twitching including eye twitching. 

Twitching can be a result of affection of different parts of the brain such as basal ganglia which controls muscle movements. When these movements are caused by anxiety, worrying about it will generate a circle that will only cause to worsen the spasms. So, relaxation is a big part of the therapy and treatment plan.

Neck muscle problems like spasmodic tortocolis can be a cause as well. A type of paralysis called Bell’s paralysis can affect the eyelid of a single eye as well, closing the eye completely.

How to control eye twitch at home:

If your eyes move or blink repeatedly and uncontrollably, you can start by taking a nap and see if it helps. Sleeping can alleviate anxiety and stress, which may be the cause of this problem. Taking deep breaths can also help you deal with nowadays daily life stress levels. Working out regularly is also a good option to keep a good general health that will keep you from expressing tension in a somatic way. This means that all the stress and tiredness and anxiety you might deal with will generate physical manifestations such as headaches for example, but since every body is different, some people might have a genetic tendency to expressing in the form of muscle spasms or eye twitching.

Consult your doctor if eye twitching persists for longer than a week, or if there’s any redness or swelling.