ITCH! TWITCH! WHICH? WHY?

Why Does My Eye Twitch?

Stress: While we’re all under stress at times, our bodies react in different ways. Eye twitching can be one sign of stress, especially when it is related to vision problems such as eye strain. Reducing the cause of the stress can help make the twitching stop.

 When your eyelid is twitching, you may feel that everyone else can see it, as in this animation that exaggerates the movement. But usually the spasm is so subtle that others wouldn’t even notice.

Tiredness: A lack of sleep, whether because of stress or some other reason, can trigger eyelid spasms. Catching up on your sleep can help.

Eye strain: Vision-related stress can occur if, for instance, you need glasses or a change of glasses. Your eyes may be working too hard, triggering eyelid twitching.

Computer eye strain from overuse of computers, tablets and smartphones is also a very common cause of vision-related stress.

If your eyelid twitching is persistent and very annoying (like the problem experienced by my patient’s wife), you should have an eye exam, because you may need vision correction. If you spend a lot of time on the computer, you also should consider talking to your eye doctor about special computer eyeglasses.

Caffeine and alcohol: Many experts believe that too much caffeine and/or alcohol can trigger eye twitches. If your caffeine (coffee, tea, soda pop, etc.) and/or alcohol intake has increased, cutting back is worth a try.Image

Dry eyes: More than half of the older population experiences dry eyes, due to aging. Dry eyes also are very common for people who use computers, take certain medications (antihistamines, antidepressants, etc.), wear contact lenses and consume caffeine and/or alcohol. If you are tired and under stress, you also may develop dry eye.

It’s best to see your eye doctor for a dry eye evaluation, because many treatments are now available.

Nutritional imbalances: Some reports indicate a lack of certain nutritional substances, such as magnesium, can trigger eyelid spasms. Although these reports lack scientific evidence, I can’t rule this out as a possible cause of eyelid twitching.

If you suspect a nutritional deficiency may be affecting you, however, I suggest talking this over with your family doctor for expert advice rather than randomly buying over-the-counter nutritional products.

Allergies: People with eye allergies can have itching, swelling and watery eyes. When eyes are rubbed, this releases histamine into the lid tissues and the tears. This is significant, because some evidence indicates that histamine can cause eyelid twitching.

To offset this problem, some eye doctors have recommended antihistamine eye drops or tablets to help some eyelid twitches. But remember that antihistamines also can cause dry eyes. It’s best to work with your eye doctor to make sure you’re doing the right thing for your eyes.

Eye Twitching Remedies

In rare cases, some eye twitches just don’t go away. Some of these types of twitches can be successfully treated with Botox injections that help stop muscle contractions. See your eye doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment if the twitching affects half your face or your entire eye, causing the lids to clamp shut.

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