Is Eye Twitching All in Your Head?

Is Eye Twitching All in Your Head?

Eye twitching is a movement disorder (dystonia) of the muscles around the eye resulting in twitching of the eyelid—not the eye itself. The result is involuntary blinking, which likely feels worse than it actually looks. The cause of this disorder is usually unknown, though it is thought to originate in the motor nerves in the brain in an area called the basal ganglia. It can be associated with many possible conditions or “triggers,” and may also run in families.

There are two kinds of eyelid twitching: eyelid myokymia, which is self-limiting or short term, and benign essential blepharospasm, which is an involuntary contraction of eyelid muscles that can lead to partial or complete forceful eyelid closure. This can last for seconds, minutes or even hours in severe cases.

Possible contributing causes for eyelid twitching include stress, fatigue or insufficient sleep, smoking, pollution, eye strain, inflammation or infection, certain drugs or medications, caffeine and alcohol. It is very rarely a sign of a brain or nervous system disorder (such as Bell’s Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Tourette’s Syndrome and Parkinson’s Disease), which would be accompanied by other symptoms.

Eyelid myokymia usually goes away on its own, but treatment may be recommended for persistent cases. Avoiding your personal triggers for twitching would be discussed and recommended by our doctors at Sterling Vision. Your care for this condition will be optimized based on your individual needs and the severity of your twitch. This may involve increasing sleep time, decreasing caffeine or alcohol, various methods of stress reduction, and cool compresses with gentle massage of the affected area. Persistent lid and even facial spasms can also be treated successfully with botulinum toxin injections to temporarily weaken the small muscles just under the skin. Only very rarely is surgery recommended for severe cases.

Please do not hesitate to consult our doctors if your eyelid twitching is long term or painful. Sterling Vision’s individualized treatments and expert advice can help you properly manage it for better comfort or even relief.