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Why is My Eye Twitching?

While almost everyone will experience an eye twitch at some point in their lives, it's often something that makes us wonder what and why it is happening. And while they often disappear as quickly as they appear, it's good to know what can cause them, and how to treat them.

What is Eye Twitching?

Eye twitching is the involuntary, spontaneous contraction of the fine muscles of the eyelid. Typically, these muscle spasms are localised to the lower eyelid, but can occur in either eye or both. In most cases, it isn't associated with any disease, however, minor eye twitching can be hard to treat since there's only one way to end it: figure out the cause and deal with it appropriately.

Causes of Eye Twitching

There are a variety of external factors that cause twitching eyes. Some of these common triggers for eye twitches are:

  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Eye strain
  • Dry Eyes
  • Allergies
  • Caffeine or alcohol consumption
  • Prolonged time in front of a screen e.g. laptop or computer
  • Outdated or incorrect prescription glasses

Meanwhile, blepharitis is a chronic inflammation of the eyelid which may cause uncomfortable twitching. There are treatments that can soothe the twitching along with other symptoms; such as over-the-counter artificial tears, hot and cold compresses, or a prescribed cream or scrub. A small percentage of people who experience eye twitching can develop benign essential blepharospasm; the forceful, involuntary contraction of the eyelid to the point where you can't open your eyes.

Treatment for Eye Twitching

If you feel your eyes begin to twitch, take a look at your recent lifestyle choices. How much sleep have you been getting? Are you feeling stressed or anxious? Have you spent significant time in front of a computer? It's important to adjust your habits in order to stop the twitching. Try to reduce your source of stress, catch up on sleep, and take breaks from your computer monitor to rest your eyes. Be sure to reduce your caffeine consumption as well (sorry, coffee lovers).

If you experience any of the symptoms below, reach out to a VSP network optometrist right away. They'll examine your eyes and consult with you to determine a course of resolve.

  • Twitching lasting longer than 72 hours, that completely closes an eyelid
  • Spasms that involve other facial muscles
  • Redness, swelling, or discharge from an eye or a droopy upper eyelid