Almost everyone has experienced some form of eye spasm, often described as sporadic twitching under or around their eyes. The spasms can vary in strength and speed, commonly occurring around the upper eyelids, but sometimes occurring in the lower eyelids around the upper cheek. In some cases, an eye twitch can be so strong it causes a person to slightly close his or her eye for every muscle spasm. The duration of eye twitching varies, and can sometimes last for days, weeks and even up to months at a time. Here is a guide to help explain why your eye keeps twitching and what you can do to stop or prevent it from reoccurring.
Why Your Eye Keeps Twitching
Eye twitching is a common condition and is more of an annoyance than anything else. Rest assured, the majority of instances of eyelid spasms are indicative of minor health problems that can easily be remedied:
- Fatigue: Most cases of eye twitching are caused by fatigue. If you can't remember suffering from eye fatigue earlier in life, it's probably because you were sleeping more and weren't constantly tired. Proper sleeping habits are important for numerous reasons, one of which is to prevent eye twitching.
- Stress: Eye twitching is a common indicator for high levels of stress. If you are suffering from a severe bout of stress, try some stress relieving techniques like meditation or getting a massage.
- Caffeine: If your eye keeps twitching more than usual, you might want to check your caffeine intake. High levels of caffeine can cause these eyelid spasms, so cut down on the coffee and switch to other, more natural energy boosters.
- Eye irritation: If you've recently suffered some form of eye irritation, you may experience some form of eye twitching. Think back and see if you've possibly bumped into an object, or rubbed or poked your eye, causing irritation and eye twitching.
- Smoking: Like caffeine, smoking is another bodily stressor that many people are guilty of. If you are a smoker and constantly suffer from eye twitching, it might be time to quit.
The most obvious symptom of eyelid spasms is if your eye keeps twitching involuntarily. There is no solid explanation as to why eye twitching may vary in severity, or why it seems to disappear and reoccur at random. You can try to reduce or relieve your eye twitching by avoiding any of the potential causes. Aside from constant eye twitching, other symptoms include sensitivity to bright lights and blurred vision. In most cases, eye twitching should not affect your vision, no matter how severe.
Other Causes of Eye Twitching
In extremely rare cases, an eye twitch may be indicative of a more serious health condition like:
- A facial nerve problem or disorder like Tourette syndrome.
- Bell's palsy, which is paralysis of a facial nerve.
- A facial tic, however, this would usually be accompanied by another uncontrollable spasm like nose wrinkling or squinting.
- Blepharitis, or inflammation of the eyelids.
Eye twitching caused by any of these disorders are typically more severe than a simple eye twitch. In most cases, both eyes would be twitching or another portion of the face would be suffering from an involuntary muscle spasm.
When to Call a Doctor
Symptoms of a common eye twitch should subside within several days. However, seek medical attention for the following cases of eye twitching:
- If the eye twitch has not subsided at all after several weeks.
- Your eye is completely forced shut between each twitch.
- Other areas of your face are twitching also.
- The twitching eye is red, swollen or looks infected.
- There is some type of discharge in your eye.
- Your upper eyelid begins to droop.
If you find yourself suffering from a severe eye twitch, don't panic, you probably just need to get more sleep. Eye twitching is just one of those body signals that indicate you are not taking care of yourself. In cases where the eye twitching is severe and your eyelid is forced completely shut, contact your physician immediately.