What Does Twitching Your Eye Mean?

Reviewed on 12/1/2021

Most often eye twitching doesn't mean anything. Possible causes of eye twitches may include caffeine or other stimulants, lack of sleep, nicotine, stress or anxiety, eye irritation or dryness, dehydration, neurological disorder, nutrient deficiencies (vitamin D, vitamin B, calcium), and medication side effects.
Most often eye twitching doesn’t mean anything. Possible causes of eye twitches may include caffeine or other stimulants, lack of sleep, nicotine, stress or anxiety, eye irritation or dryness, dehydration, neurological disorder, nutrient deficiencies (vitamin D, vitamin B, calcium), and medication side effects.

Eye twitching (blepharospasm) is an abnormal, involuntary blinking or spasm of the eyelids.

Most of the time eye twitches don’t mean anything, but sometimes they can be a sign of a problem with the nervous system

It is unknown what causes eye twitching but is thought to be due to an abnormal function of the basal ganglia, the part of the brain responsible for controlling muscles. 

Why Is My Eye Twitching?

Eye twitching may be a sign of some conditions that usually go away on their own such as: 

Rarely, genetics may play a role in the development of blepharospasm.

Benign essential blepharospasm (BEB) is a form of eye twitching that is a progressive neurological disorder. 

What Are the Symptoms of Eye Twitching?

Symptoms of eye twitching (blepharospasm) include: 

  • Spasm of the eyelids
  • Gradual increase in blinking
  • Involuntary eyelid closure
  • Eye irritation
  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • Fatigue
  • Emotional tension
  • Symptoms become more frequent as the condition progresses in benign essential blepharospasm (BEB)
  • Facial spasms may develop in BEB

Eye twitching may lessen or stop when a person is concentrating on a specific task or sleeping.

How to Stop Eye Twitching

No treatment may be needed for less serious and often temporary causes of muscle twitching, and twitching will usually go away on its own. When treatment is needed, it depends on the cause may include:

  • Consumption of caffeine or other stimulants
    • Reduce or avoid caffeine or stimulant use 
  • Lack of sleep
    • Try to maintain good hygiene and get adequate sleep
  • Nicotine from smoking and tobacco use
    • Don’t smoke or use tobacco
  • Stress or anxiety (“nervous ticks”)
    • Practice stress reduction techniques such as mediation, deep breathing, or yoga
  • Eye irritation or dryness 
    • If there is no underlying medical condition causing eye irritation or dryness, lubricating eye drops may help
  • Dehydration
    • Increase water intake
  • Physical activity due to:
    • Accumulation of lactic acid (lactic acidosis) 
      • Reduce intensity or duration of exercise
      • Get adequate fluid intake 
      • Rest
    • Electrolyte deficiency
    • Drink enough water while exercising
    • Consume coconut water or sports drinks with electrolytes
  • Nutrient deficiencies such as vitamin D, vitamin B, and calcium
  • Side effects of medications 
    • Talk to your doctor about changing to another medication that may not cause the eye twitching
    • Do not stop taking any medications without first talking to your doctor

There is no cure for benign essential blepharospasm (BEB) but treatments that can reduce its severity include:

  • Oculinum (botulinum toxin, or Botox) injection into the muscles of the eyelids 
  • Medications 
    • Symptom relief is usually short term 
    • Medicines are only helpful in about 15% of cases
      • Antiarrhythmics
      • Anticholinergics
      • Anticonvulsants
      • Atypical antipsychotics
      • Benzodiazepines
      • Dopamine receptor agonists
      • GABAB receptor agonists
      • Imidazopyridines
      • Monoamine depleters
      • Neuroleptics
      • Serotonin receptor antagonists
  • Surgery
    • Myectomy: removes some of the muscles and nerves of the eyelids and improves symptoms in 75 to 85 percent of patients
  • Alternative therapies (not proven)
    • Acupuncture
    • Biofeedback
    • Chiropractic
    • Hypnosis
    • Nutritional therapy

SLIDESHOW

Brain Food Pictures: What to Eat to Boost Focus See Slideshow

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Reviewed on 12/1/2021
References
Image Sources: iStock Image

https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/blepharospasm

https://www.blepharospasm.org/blepharospasm-oral-medications1.html