Sep 7, 2022
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What does it mean when your eye twitches?

What does it mean when your eye twitches?

Most of us know what an eye twitch is; in fact, we’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives. Eye twitching happens completely unexpectedly – you may be watching TV, reading or cooking when you feel a sudden, unexpected movement of your eyelid. What you feel is a muscle spasm or nerve jump in the area around your eye. Eye twitching is not life-threatening, but it can indicate some serious health problems. Also, it can be very annoying.

Science defines eye twitching as “repetitive, uncontrollable blinking or spasm of the eyelids, usually in the upper eyelid.” This eye muscle spasm can affect one or both eyes and can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Rarely, eye cramps may continue and disappear for a couple of days before disappearing on their own.

What causes eye twitching?

There is no specific answer as to what causes eye twitching. It is usually associated with stress and fatigue, but also with excessive amounts of caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol. Eye twitching can also be caused by dry eyes, eye strain, allergies, or irritation of the eye or ocular membrane. Often this happens for no specific reason. In general, these eye spasms are harmless and painless.

On the other hand, there are cases where eye twitching is caused by some kind of neurological disorder, such as blepharospasm (abnormal blinking or spasm of the eyelids) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

  • If you experience any of the following symptoms, see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible:
  • If your eye spasms continue for more than a week.
  • If spasms completely close the eyelid.
  • If spasms affect your entire face.
  • If your eyes swell, redden, or have eye discharge.
  • If your upper eyelid starts to droop.

A quick visit to the doctor rules out any possibility of a neurological disorder. If, however, there is a risk of such a disease, you will be referred to a neurologist or other specialist.

If the underlying cause of your twitching is not a neurological disorder, you should try to address the problem by reducing your exposure to stress and caffeine intake. Getting better quality sleep is also extremely beneficial. Optionally, you can try hot and cold compresses to relax your eye muscles. If you are open to a more alternative approach, acupuncture and massage can also reduce discomfort.

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