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Eye Health | Optical Centre VisionDirect AU

Eye Twitching- Meaning, Causes, Prevention & Treatment

 

What does eye twitching mean?

 

When your eye twitches, it means that your eyelid muscles are having involuntary spasms. In other words, it feels like your eyeballs are “jumping”. This may range from barely noticing anything to feeling a slight tug on your eyelid. You may think that everyone can see your eye twitching but it’s usually very subtle and not easily seen. The medical term for eyelid twitching is myokymia. 

The eye may quiver every few seconds and last for as long as a few minutes. It may come and go over a few days or even weeks. Then, you may not experience any twitching for weeks or months. Your left eye may twitch, your right eye also might, it could be the upper eyelid or the lower eyelid. Usually, the twitching involves one eye at a time. It’s very common and happens to most people some time or the other. Most twitches or tics are completely harmless and are rarely ever a sign of a serious problem.

Why does my left or right eye twitch?

 

Superstitions may say that the right eye twitching is a good omen or that the left eye twitching means that something bad is about to happen. However, if we look at science, we get unbiased and grounded answers as to why an eyelid may twitch.

Why your eye twitches

 

There aren’t any specific identifiers for eye twitching. However, certain behavioural and environmental factors could trigger muscle overstimulation, such as the following:

  • Excessive consumption of caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco,

  • Exposure to bright light

  • Fatigue or lack of adequate sleep

  • Irritation on the eye surface or inner eyelids

  • Stress

  • Wind

  • Air pollution

  • Allergies

  • Deficiency of certain nutritive elements

  • Certain medications (especially antihistamines and some antidepressants)

 

What to do if your eye keeps twitching:

 

In most cases, there’s no pain associated with eyelid twitching, there’s usually a mild annoyance that could affect your quality of life. The spasms go away without requiring any medical intervention normally. You could also journal how often they’re occurring. Note how often you are consuming caffeine, how much you’re sleeping, and keep a track of your stress levels.

If they don’t go away, try to reduce the causal factors. You could try the following:

  • Blink often. Increased hours of eye focus keeps your eyes involuntarily open. Follow the 20-20-20 rule- Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen and focus on a distant object(at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds. This could reduce and prevent eye strain, which leads to twitching.

  • Keep your eyes well-lubricated with over-the-counter eye drops. Sometimes, eye drops are formulated to reduce allergy symptoms and the antihistamines in them can lead to dry eyes.

  • Make sure you’re getting adequate sleep and maintaining a consistent sleeping schedule. Read more about relieving tired eyes here.

  • Reduce your stress by practising yoga, breathing & eye exercises, spending time with loved ones, and getting more downtime.

  • Supplement your diet with nutrients you need for healthy vision.

  • Apply a warm compress when your eyes begin to twitch.

  • Reduce your consumption of caffeine and caffeinated drinks for a week and see whether that makes a difference in the quivering.

 

When to see the doctor

 

You normally shouldn’t have to worry if your eye twitches. However, if the twitching is chronic, it could mean that you may have a more serious condition that requires treatment. We recommend that you consult your ophthalmologist if:

  • The eye has been twitching for more than 3 weeks,

  • Your eyelid completely clamps down with each twitch or you find it difficult to open the eye,

  • Other parts of your face or body are twitching as well,

  • Your eye is red, swollen, or has a discharge,

  • Your eyelids are drooping,

  • You feel that there is “shaking” in your vision,

  • You feel like there’s something in your eye and also feel light-sensitive.

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