Chances are you’ve had a time or two when one or both of your eyes developed an annoying twitch. Sometimes it seems like no amount of rubbing or eye drops can get it to stop. If you’re dealing with a twitchy while you’re reading this, then chances are you’re wondering what’s causing it and how to get it to stop.
What Is An Eye Twitch?
Right off the bat, it’s important to bear in mind that a classic “Eye Twitch” is not a spasm in the eyeball itself. They are most often related to the eyelid or the underlying muscles around the eye. Some of these spasms are short-lived. Perhaps lasting a few minutes. Though there are certainly times when an eye twitching problem annoyingly lasts for days.
Eye twitches can range in severity from mild to severe. Some might only be noticeable to you, or so overt that others can notice something is wrong with your eye.
On a technical level “Myokymia” is the common medical term used to describe and eye twitch
What Causes An Eye Twitch?
This is not something with a simple answer. Several factors can cause one or possibly both eyes to twitch. Sometimes there might be a single cause, of there might be two or three things combined that are causing the reaction.
A Stress-Related Eye Twitch
Both chronic and acute stress can have a major impact on the human body. So, it comes as no surprise that stress is one of the most common causes of eye twitching.
If you think that acute stress, is part of the problem, you might want to try some relaxation techniques. Meditative breathing, yoga, talking with a close friend, or just quality time with your family might help.
If you suspect that your eye twitch is related to chronic stress, then it might be time to take a more proactive approach to the underlying cause. Sometimes making a change in your busy schedule, taking time to meditate daily, or keeping a gratitude journal can help ease the overall impact on your body.
Fatigue Or Lack Of Sleep
Sometimes the effect of a bad night’s sleep can be compounded by the annoying frustration of a twitchy eye. As a short-term fix, making time for a quick nap might be just the ticket. Though you might want to also address what caused your sleep problem in the first place. Sometimes making a simple change in your sleep hygiene is the key to getting quality rest. Replacing your old mattress, sleeping with a white noise machine, or abstaining from using blue light devices for at least two hours before bedtime can have a major impact on sleep quality.
Digital Eye Strain
It’s no secret that today more than ever, we have our eyes glued to digital screens. Small screens like smartphones, tablets, notebooks, and even laptops often call for us to put our eyes close to the screen. Not only does this strain the eyes, but it also increases exposure to blue light, which can affect overall eye health.
One way to address this is to adopt the “20-20-20 Rule.” This calls for looking away from your digital screen every 20-minutes and focusing on an object that’s 20 feet away, for at least 20-seconds. This change in your field of vision helps reduce physical strain on the eyes and the micro-muscles that adjust them. You might want to also consider looking into prescription eyeglasses with lenses that help block out blue light and reduce eye strain.
Caffeine is a stimulant, and it can affect nerves and muscles, including those around the eyes. If you overdo it one morning on coffee or energy drinks, your body will naturally balance itself out and an acute eye twitch will probably fade within an hour or two.
In a more chronic case, you might want to consider cutting back on coffee, tea, and caffeinated beverages. Caffeine intake in the afternoon or evening can also contribute to poor quality sleep, which can also contribute to eye twitching problems.
For some people, alcohol can trigger certain biological responses like hiccups and even eye twitches. If you notice yourself suffering from a twitchy eye when you drink beer, wine, or liquor, you might want to consider cutting back. Increased water intake might also help with any dehydration issues.
Chronic Dry Eye
Many people develop chronic dry eye problems with age. Though chronic dry eye can also be caused by other things like excessive digital display viewing, dehydration from caffeine or alcohol intake, as well as medications like antihistamines and certain antidepressants.
In some cases, prescription eye drops might help reverse symptoms of chronic dry eye that contribute to eye twitching. Though your optometrist or ophthalmologist might have other recommendations to help restore the proper moisture balance of your eyes.
If you have a twitching eyelid and your eyes feel gritty or dry, consult your eye doctor for an evaluation. Restoring moisture to the surface of your eye may stop the twitching and decrease the risk of twitching in the future.
An Allergic Reaction
Certain allergies affect the eye causing them to itch, water, or even twitch. This also tempts some people to excessively rub their eyes, which can potentially damage the sensitive tissues inside the eyelid itself.
Sometimes over the counter eye drops can help relieve allergy-irritated eyes. In a severe case, you might want to talk to your eye doctor about prescription eye drops. Depending on the type of allergy, your primary physician might be able to give you a prescription for antihistamine.
People with eye allergies can have itching, swelling, and watery eyes. Rubbing your eyes because of allergy symptoms releases histamine into your eyelid tissues and tear film, which may cause eye twitching.
When Should I See My Eye Doctor For Twitching Eyes?
Most acute eye twitching problems don’t require a physician’s care. Yet you should seek medical care if you experience any of the following symptoms.
- Persistent eye twitching
- Changes in vision
- One or both eyelids clamping down
- Loss of movement on one side of your face