Eye Twitches: Why Do We Get Them
Have you ever felt your eyelid spasm for no apparent reason?
Most people have eye twitches at some point in their life and theyre usually harmless, though very annoying especially when they just wont seem to go away. Its usually an eye muscle firing involuntarily because your body is in a stressed and fatigued state.
However, there are a few uncommon yet more serious forms of eye twitches as well.
There Are Things You Can Do
Since eyelid twitches happen when the nerves and muscles around your eye are overactive, take steps to relax your eyes, mind, and body. Some ideas include:
Make sure you get enough sleep.
Avoid caffeine in coffee, tea, and soft drinks.
Dont smoke or vape.
Use the right lighting for your task or activity.
Avoid drinking alcohol.
Find ways to reduce stress.
Take regular breaks away from your phone or computer screen.
How Does Stress Cause Eyelid Twitch
Stress is most often the cause of a temporary eye twitch, and doctors frequently recommend reducing stress or anxiety as a way to treat a twitching eye. During stressful times, you may be less likely to sleep well, which in turns leads to fatigue in the muscles around your eyes. Lack of sleep may also lead to increased caffeine or alcohol intake, another primary cause of eye twitch. If your stress is related to work, excessive time on your computer or phone can dry out your eyes and trigger twitching.
If stress is the likely culprit for your eye twitch, look for ways to relax your mind, improve your sleep, and cut back on stimulants like caffeine.
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Allergic Conjunctivitis: Eye Allergies
Allergic conjunctivitis is a common allergic problem involving the conjunctiva of the eyes. It is most frequently associated with symptoms of itchy watery eyes often occurring during the allergy seasons. Repeatedly rubbing the eyes perpetuates the itchy feeling and creates a repetitive cycle of infection.
Allergic conjunctivitis may be seasonal, affecting you based upon changing concentrations of seasonal pollen. Symptoms may also be perennial when exposure to allergens such as dust mites, indoor molds or pet dander is year round. Symptoms may also be episodic, for example after occasional exposure to a pet.
Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is the most common allergic disease involving the eye. Eye allergies can be severe and quite intolerable but not dangerous since they do not cause any permanent damage to the eye. The disease usually is self limiting with avoidance of the allergen. Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis occurs more frequently than perennial allergic conjunctivitis. Symptoms typically occur in spring and fall depending on your specific sensitivities and the time and extent of pollen exposure.
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Most Eye Twitches Arent Linked To Any Medical Condition
Eye twitches happen to healthy people all the time. And apart from the lifestyle factors mentioned above, there isnt much rhyme or reason to what causes them.
Conditions that lead to inflammation of your eyes and eyelids like allergies and dry eyes are often blamed for eye twitches. And its true, these things can cause irritation and increased blinking. But its hard to say if theres a direct link between these conditions and most common eye twitches. Researchers just havent spent much time looking into this question directly.
Its a different story for severe eye twitches, though. If your eye twitch is more than just a little wiggle, its possible a medical condition could be to blame. Neurologic conditions like multiple sclerosis have been linked to more severe eyelid movement problems.
Acute/lifestyle Causes Of Eye Twitching
If your eye twitching has just begun, or it seems to occur at similar times, then there are many things that may have caused it. At the same time these triggers can worsen chronic causes of twitching and should be avoided if you suffer from it. One common cause is eye strain and often a twitching eye is a sign that you need to take a break from your concentration if you are reading or working on the computer. Focussing requires the use of muscles around your eyes and using these excessively can of course cause them and the surrounding muscles to spasm. If you work an office job then be sure to take regular breaks from your monitor and make sure that the room is adequately lighted whenever you are going to be working.
Other acute causes your could be dehydration which can cause your eyes to stop producing enough tears and cause them to dry out. Likewise sensitivity to light can cause eye twitching and this is often a result of a hangover following alcohol consumption. General tiredness can also cause eye twitching, and any stimulants such as caffeine, particularly in high quantities, can cause twitching as a result of the increased amounts of dopamine.
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Complications Of Eyelid Twitches
Rarely, eyelid spasms are a symptom of a more serious brain or nerve disorder.
When eyelid twitches are a result of these more serious conditions, theyre almost always accompanied by other symptoms.
Brain and nerve disorders that may cause eyelid twitches include:
- Bells palsy , which is a condition that causes one side of your face to droop downward
- dystonia, which causes unexpected muscle spasms and the affected areas body part to twist or contort
- cervical dystonia , which causes the neck to randomly spasm and the head to twist into uncomfortable positions
- multiple sclerosis , which is a disease of the central nervous system that causes cognitive and movement problems, as well as fatigue
- Parkinsons disease, which can cause trembling limbs, muscle stiffness, balance problems, and difficulty speaking
- Tourette syndrome, which is characterized by involuntary movement and verbal tics
Undiagnosed corneal scratches can also cause eyelid twitches.
If you think you have an eye injury, see your optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately. Corneal scratches can cause permanent eye damage.
Triggers Of Eye Allergies
- Cause. An allergic reaction of the eyes to allergic substance. The medical name for this is allergic conjunctivitis. The allergic substance is called an allergen. Most allergens float in the air. That’s how they get in the eyes. Here are the common ones:
- Pollens. Trees, grass, weeds and molds are the most common pollens. Tree pollens come in the spring. Grass pollens come in the summer. Weed pollens come in the fall. Pollens cause seasonal allergies. You can’t avoid pollens because they are in the air. Most eye allergies continue through the pollen season. They can last 4 to 8 weeks. Pollens cause seasonal eye allergies.
- Pets. Allergens can also be from cats, dogs, horses, rabbits and other animals. Pet allergens are in the air. They can also get in the eyes from the hands. Most people don’t keep a pet that they are allergic to. They only have sporadic allergy symptoms when they are exposed to a pet. These symptoms usually last a few hours. If you own the pet, your child will have symptoms all the time.
- House Dust. House dust contains many allergens. It always contains dust mites. If your humidity is high, it will contain mold. If someone with a cat visits you, they will bring cat dander with them. House dust causes year round, daily symptoms. The medical name for this is perennial eye allergies.
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Eye Allergies: Symptoms Causes And Treatment
If you are one of the millions of Americans with eye allergies, then you know how annoying they can be. While allergies may affect only your eyes, more often nasal allergy symptoms are also present, such as sneezing, a stuffy nose, and respiratory symptoms.
If you are like many allergy sufferers, you treat your nasal and respiratory allergy symptoms and ignore your itchy, red, watery eyes. However, treating your eye symptoms is not impossible.
More than half of all reported cases occur in children, and the majority of people with allergies will have symptoms before the age of 30. However, allergies can develop at any age. A combination of genetic and environmental factors is believed to be the reason why allergies affect some people and not others.
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Jaw Clenching Or Teeth Grinding
Many people tighten their jaw or grind their teeth while sleeping, so you may be doing it without even knowing! If you suspect you might be grinding , a trip to the dentist can quickly reveal the truth. If they tell you you’re “bruxing,” the fancy term for teeth grinding, ask about options like wearing a mouth guard at night. In the meantime, doing a little self massage on your jaw and inside your mouth can help relieve any pain, even though it sounds a little icky.
What Can You Do To Relieve Your Eye Twitch
- Speak with your eye doctor about stress-relieving eyeglasses or dry eye treatments. Botox injections,or oral medication may be needed to treat blepharospasms.
- Practice stress-relieving activities such as yoga and deep breathing exercises, or simply spend more time relaxing with friends.
- Use eye drops to help relieve dry eyes and allergies.
- Limit screen time, take frequent breaks from the screen and consider wearing computer glasses to reduce eye strain.
- Reduce your caffeine and alcohol consumption for a few weeks to determine if these stimulants are causing your eye to twitch.
- Speak with your physician about taking nutritional supplements and ruling out a neurological disorder, if other symptoms are present.
An eye twitch is generally not a cause for concern, but if it persists for longer than a few days or you notice any changes to your vision, contact Dr. Yamanaka at Los Alamitos Optometry today to schedule an eye exam.
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Why Does My Eye Lid Twitch
As the foremost authority in vision care, Jackson Davenport Vision Center, located in Summerville, South Carolina, we know how aggravating and, sometimes embarrassing, a twitching eyelid can be. Eye twitching, eyelid tics, and spasms are pretty common. Most eye twitches come and go, but sometimes a twitching eye can last for weeks or even months. This article will explain eyelids twitches, the types and causes of twitches, and when you should consider seeing an optometrist.
Why Are Your Eyes Twitching
- Your eyes are swollen, red, or have any kind of discharge
- Your eyelids are drooping unnaturally
- Your eye twitching is causing your eye to close completely and hindering your eyesight
- Your eyes are twitching for weeks at a time
- The twitching spreads to other parts of your face
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Leafy greens are especially rich in magnesium, as well as different kinds of seeds and some types of fruit.
Treatments For Eye Allergies & Eye Itching
Itching and tearing may cause you great distress, interfering with your ability to read, concentrate, work, attend school or even sleep. If you experience these problems, the following treatments are available for eye allergies:
- HEPA filters can limit exposure to airborne allergens
- Encasement of pillow and mattress may be used for dust mite allergy control
- A cold compress over the eyes can give immediate but temporary relief of symptoms
- When environmental controls prove inadequate in the management of symptoms the following medications may help:
- Oral antihistamines are often helpful but not always adequate for relief of symptoms
- The use of topical antihistamines or mast cell inhibitors may be effective
- Dual acting antihistamine and mast cell stabilizers are a good initial choice.
- In severe cases, combinations of medications including adding a topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug or temporary use of topical corticosteroids may be necessary.
- Rarely oral corticosteroids are used for a short period when symptoms are extraordinarily severe. Nasal corticosteroids are often helpful in the chronic treatment of eye allergies.
- If you have persistent or troublesome symptoms and continuing allergen exposure, allergy injection therapy or allergy shots should be considered to lower your sensitivity to the offending allergen
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Your Muscles Need Magnesium
Among many positive effects magnesium can have on our health, it can be particularly helpful with muscle spasms or cramps and chronic pain. There must be a balance in the levels of calcium and magnesium in our organism so as to avoid muscle spasm. In order for muscles to relax, there must be enough magnesium. Calcium signals muscles to contract, and without enough magnesium, they would be in the state of constant contraction.
To avoid having muscle spasms and eye twitching, you should follow recommended daily intakes of magnesium:
- For average male adults : 400-420 mg
- For average females : 310-320 mg
- For children from ages 4-8: 130 mg
- For children from ages 9-13: 240 mg
- For teenagers : 410 mg for males, and 360 mg for females
What Is Eye Twitching
Eye twitching which actually is twitching of an eyelid is common and harmless.
Most eye twitching lasts only a few minutes, but sometimes an eyelid twitch can persist for days or longer. If you have an eye twitch that doesn’t go away relatively quickly, see an eye doctor.
The medical term for eye twitching is myokymia.
If you experience eye twitching that doesn’t go away, this could signal a serious neurological condition affecting the eyelid such as blepharospasm or hemifacial spasm. These relatively rare conditions are more obvious and severe than common eye twitching and should be evaluated immediately by an eye doctor.
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Andrey: Popov/shutterstockwhat Is Eye Twitching
Despite the name, your eye isnt actually moving at all. Its that pesky eyelid. Eyelid twitching is pretty common and usually nothing to worry about, according to Dr. Ming Wang, PhD, Wang Vision 3D Cataract & LASIK Center. The condition of temporary or long-term eye twitching is called eyelid myokymia and it is the result of an involuntary misfiring of the neurons that stimulate your eyelid muscles.
Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis: Contact Lenses
Giant papillary conjunctivitis is a chronic inflammatory condition affecting the mucous membranes of the upper eyelids. It is most often caused by soft contact lenses, but it can occur with any type of lens, ocular prosthesis, or even exposed sutures.
If you suffer from giant papillary conjunctivitis, you may suffer from itchy eyes following removal of your contact lenses, irritation, redness, burning, mucous discharge, light sensitivity and increasing contact lens intolerance. These symptoms may begin months to years following your initial use of contact lenses. Sever symptoms such as blurring of vision can occur due to movement of your lenses secondary to the presence of giant cobblestones of mucosal tissue beneath the eyelid or from debris deposited on the lens during the underlying inflammatory process. This condition many occur more frequently if you have underlying allergies.
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Treatment For This Type
- Reduce contact lens use or discontinue lens use.
- Topical mast cell stabilizers such as cromolyn sodium and dual acting topical ophthalmic medication many be helpful
- Topical corticosteroids are effective in controlling more difficult symptoms
- When symptoms clear up, it may be possible to resume contact lens use if you switch to an alternative lens type along with the use of preventative medication
When Eye Twitching Might Indicate A Looming Concern
While many of the common causes of eye spasms are relatively mundane and can resolve themselves on their own, sometimes eye twitching can be a sign of a more serious condition, especially if it lingers for days at a time.
Specific types of eye spasms can also be a sign of a more severe condition. If you have a sudden change in appearance and movement over half of your face, or if your eyelids spasm to the point where they clamp shut and cant be opened, it may be a sign of a severe neurological condition such as blepharospasm or hemifacial spasm.
These kinds of spasms can also be a sign of other neurological disorders and are almost always accompanied by other symptoms associated with these disorders. Neurological conditions that have eye spasms as a symptom include:
You shouldnt rush to see an eye doctor over every little eye twitch. If it persists for more than a day, though, you should see a doctor. You should also seek help if its accompanied by other symptoms like a loss of facial motor control, being unable to open your eyes, or numbness and tingling sensations.
If you sense something is seriously wrong or if the twitching feels like any of the common causes above is not causing it, seek medical attention.
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