Eye twitching and eyelid tics and spasms are pretty common. Called myokymia in doctor lingo, these rippling muscle contractions in an eyelid can be triggered by many things, including:
- Eye strain
- Dry eyes
- Nutritional imbalances including lack of calcium in the diet
Almost all sudden-onset eyelid twitching is benign, meaning the condition is not serious or a sign of a medical problem. However, this kind of eye twitching also can be hard to treat. The only option for making the twitching stop may be to figure out the cause and deal with it. More serious forms of eyelid twitching are caused by neurological conditions such as blepharospasm or hemifacial spasm. These conditions are much less common and should be diagnosed and treated by an eye doctor. Why Does
My Eye Twitch?
Stress: While we’re all under stress at times, our bodies react in different ways. A twitching eye can be one sign of stress, especially when it is related to vision problems such as eye strain (see below). Reducing the cause of the stress can help make the twitching stop.
Tiredness: A lack of sleep, whether because of stress or some other reason, can trigger a twitching eyelid. Catching up on your sleep can help.
Eye strain: Vision-related stress can occur if, for instance, you need glasses or a change of glasses. Your eyes may be working too hard, triggering eyelid twitching. Computer eye strain from overuse of computers, tablets and smartphones is also a very common cause of visionrelated stress.
Caffeine and alcohol: Many experts believe that too much caffeine and/or alcohol can trigger eye twitching. If your caffeine (coffee, tea, soda pop, etc.) and/or alcohol intake has increased, cutting back is worth a try.
Dry eyes: More than half of the older population experiences dry eyes, due to aging. Dry eyes also are very common for people who use computers, take certain medications (antihistamines, antidepressants, etc.), wear contact lenses, and consume caffeine and/or alcohol. If you are tired and under stress, you also may develop dry eye.
Nutritional imbalances: Some reports indicate a lack of certain nutritional substances, such as magnesium or calcium, can trigger eyelid spasms. Although these reports lack scientific evidence, if you suspect a nutritional deficiency may be affecting you, talk this over with your family doctor for expert advice rather than randomly buying over-the-counter nutritional products.
Allergies: People with eye allergies can have itching, swelling, and watery eyes. When eyes are rubbed, this releases histamine into the lid tissues and the tears. This is significant, because some evidence indicates that histamine can cause eyelid twitching. To offset this problem, some eye doctors have recommended antihistamine eye drops or tablets to help some eyelid twitches. But remember that antihistamines also can cause dry eyes. It’s best to work with your eye doctor to make sure you’re doing the right thing for your eyes.
Previous facial nerve trauma: Sometimes after a punch to the face or a fall, facial nerves can be damaged. As they regrow, they sometimes regenerate in areas where they previously didn’t exist and cause twitches as you talk or eat.
Most eye twitches come and go, although they can last for weeks or even months.