What Causes An Eye Twitch?

4 min read

There are 3 main eye twitch causes. Fortunately, the most common cause of an eye twitch is the common eye twitch and it is generally harmless.

Common Eye Twitch

This eye twitch is usually caused by stress, lack of sleep, fatigue, ocular surface irritation, ocular allergies or dry eyes. If a patient complains of an eye twitch that happens once in a while but has no regular pattern, it is likely from other elements in their life. Poor sleep and excessive exhaustion has been known to cause eye twitches. The common eye twitch can happen on one side or it can happen on both. So, you can have a left eyelid twitch or a right eye twitch . Patients also about their eye twitching in pregnancy. This is likely to be the common eye twitch. However, because pregnancy is a vulnerable state, remember to discuss any problems with your Obgyn and your eye doctor.

The good news is, that the common eye twitch is likely to resolve on their own if the patient is able to rest and take care of themselves. In addition to getting rest, it's important to lubricate the surface of the eye as well. This can be done easily through artificial tears. Artificial tears can be bought without a prescription and are generally safe to use three to four times a day. Another way to soothe the eyes is through an eye mask. A heated eye mask can help improve dry eye and can provide some relaxation for the patient as well. Cutting down on caffeine can also be helpful.

If you have done all these things and your twitch is not improving, it is likely time to make an appointment with an ophthalmologist.

Blepharospasm

Blepharospasm is another one of the eye twitch causes. It is much less common than the common eye twitch. It can also be more serious. It is also called Benign Essential Blepharospasm. Essential blepharospasm is caused by a nerve impulse. This impulse makes the eyelid close involuntarily. It can happen to either eyelid or it can happen to both at the same time. The duration can vary from a few seconds to a few hours in severe cases. For patients with severe blepharospasm, their eyelids may close so tightly that it affects their daily life. These spasms are usually treated by an ophthalmologist with botulinum toxin. After injecting botulinum toxin into the face, the patient can see relief in as quickly as one day. The relief usually lasts about 3 months before it needs to be repeated.

Hemifacial Spasm

This is the least common of the eye twitch causes. It is a rare condition. Hemi means half, so a hemifacial spasm means that the spasm involves half the patient's face. In this spasm, muscles on one side of the face tighten. These spasms may start near your eye and then affect other parts of your face. In advanced cases, a hemifacial spasm can last for several days to a few months. Hemifacial spasms are usually caused by pressure on cranial nerve 7 which is the facial nerve. This is the same nerve that is affected in Bell's Palsy. Botulinum toxin is used to treat hemifacial spasm also.

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What Causes An Eye Twitch? : Take Home Points

The main eye twitch causes are the common eye twitch, blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm. The common eye twitch is far more common than the other two and is usually from fatigue, stress of caffeine. Lifestyle modifications are the first step in overcoming the common eye twitch.

Sources:

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/how-to-stop-eye-twitching

Defazio G, Hallett M, Jinnah HA, Conte A, Berardelli A. Blepharospasm 40 years later. Mov Disord. 2017 Apr;32(4):498-509. doi: 10.1002/mds.26934. Epub 2017 Feb 10. PMID: 28186662; PMCID: PMC5941939.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28186662/

Chaudhry N, Srivastava A, Joshi L. Hemifacial spasm: The past, present and future. J Neurol Sci. 2015 Sep 15;356(1-2):27-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2015.06.032. Epub 2015 Jun 16. PMID: 26111430.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26111430/

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