What is eye twitching?

Eye twitching is a very common complaint which can affect pretty much anyone at any time. The problem usually consists of the bottom lid of one eye seeming to act independently of the rest of the eye. However, it is not always the bottom lid and in some people the upper eyelid has been known to twitch instead.

Although these symptoms can be annoying and distracting, eye twitching often comes and goes and you may experience it at several points in your life. Twitching can last a few days or longer, sometimes weeks and even months. It can feel as though the spasm is so powerful that those around must be able to notice it. However, if you look in the mirror, you will realise that the movement is so subtle it is unlikely that anyone will take note.

Speak to your doctor or optician if you have experienced these symptoms for a prolonged period of time, as they will notice if there is an underlying issue with your eyes or vision

What Causes Eye Twitching?

Before you can find a solution to your twitching eyes, you need to determine the cause. Eye twitching is referred to by doctors as myokymia, and below are the most common triggers for these spasmodic contractions in the muscles surrounding the eyelid. These might include:

Many people suffer from eye twitching at some point in their lives and most often this does not point to a medical illness, nor is it a cause for concern. However, if you have suffered for long periods it can start to become much more irritating. The best way to reduce eye twitching is by working out from the list above the likely cause and implementing some lifestyle changes.

The Common Causes of Eye Twitching

Tiredness: Sleep deprivation is a leading cause of eye twitching. Whether you are experiencing stress or have had a series of late nights, one way of reducing eye twitching is by getting back into a regular sleep pattern. If you suffer from a condition such as insomnia, your doctor may be able to provide medical solutions to help you get a better night's sleep.

Caffeine and alcohol: There have been studies done into the effects of caffeine and alcohol on the body, and many experts believe these factors increase the symptoms of eye twitching. Caffeine can be found in energy drinks and fizzy drinks as well as tea and coffee, so your caffeine intake could have increased without you realising it. Cutting back on caffeine or alcoholic drinks, or switching to decaffeinated hot drinks instead, will always make a significant improvement to your health and can have a positive impact on your sleeping patterns.

Stress: Everyone suffers from stress at some point in their lives, and each body has a different reaction towards this. Eye twitching can be one of those reactions and can often be related to other sight problems such as eye strain. Finding ways to reduce the cause of the stress or to develop relaxation strategies after a stressful experience can be one way to stop eye twitching.

Eye strain: Eye twitching can also be caused by stresses on your eye and vision. For example, if you need new glasses or contact lenses, you may experience these symptoms because your eyes are working extra hard. Eye strain while using a computer is common and is also becoming associated with regular use of tablets and smartphones.

If you have been suffering eye twitching for a prolonged period, make sure you book an appointment with your optician. Your eyes may need a new prescription, or if you spend a lot of time working with computers your optician may be able to recommend specific glasses intended to lessen the strain on your eyes.

Dry eyes: Many people suffer from dry eyes for a number of reasons: around half of the population experience it due to the aging process, while others can experience dry eyes caused by computer use or by using contact lenses that are incompatible with their eyes.

Eye dryness is also common amongst those who take specific medication, such as antihistamines for allergies or antidepressants, and for those who regularly drink alcoholic or caffeinated drinks. The symptoms of dry eye have also been associated with tiredness and stress, further causes of eye twitching. If you find that you experience dry eyes on a regular basis, speak to your optician as there are many easy treatments available to combat these symptoms.

Allergies: Those who suffer from allergies are commonly affected by swollen, itchy, dry or watery eyes. Rubbing your eyes when you are suffering from allergies will release histamines into the eyelid tissue and the tears, and there is some evidence to suggest that the release of histamines can cause eye twitching. It is possible to purchase antihistamine eye drops or tablets which can alleviate this issue; however, antihistamines are often associated with causing dry eyes too, so before you do anything Vision Direct recommends discussing this with your doctor.

Nutritional imbalances: Among those who report eye twitching, there is an indication that a lack of key nutritional substances, such as magnesium, could be to blame. Despite there being no official scientific evidence to support this, it may be that a change to your diet improves your eye twitching. If you have particular dietary requirements and suspect this may be a cause of your eye twitching, it is best to discuss your options with your doctor for the best advice.

Remedies For Eye Twitching

Many cases of eye twitching clear up on their own without any medical intervention, usually when a sufferer implements changes to their lifestyle factors which were causing the twitching. However, in some instances, eye twitching can become prolonged over weeks and months and may need medical attention if it becomes serious or disruptive. In these cases you should visit your optician or doctor immediately.