How to Stop that Irritating Eye Twitch

How to Stop that Irritating Eye Twitch

Have you ever had an ongoing eyelid twitch? If so, you're not alone. Most people have experienced a slight spasm of their eyelid at some point. Rarely does a twitch indicate a major medical problem, and it's often easily resolved, but it's important to understand the cause so that it's properly treated. Below, Dr. Dmitry Volfson, regional medical director of CityMD and Dr. Vinnie Shah, an ophthalmologist at Summit Health, provide some insight on how to put an end to those annoying twitches.

 

Why is My Eye Twitching?

Sometimes the culprits are basic, including:

 

- Dust particles

- Air pollution

- Wind or sun irritation

- Dry eyes

 

For situations such as these, most of the time, says Dr. Volfson, "the solution is clear cut. You lubricate and rinse your eye, and that should take care of it." If it's an eye infection such as conjunctivitis (better known as pink eye), your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic in the form of eye drops or an ointment. 

 

What if the Cause Isn't Irritation?

If the cause of the twitching isn't environmental irritants or eye infection, you should consider your lifestyle. The solution may be as simple as cutting back on that extra cup of coffee in the morning. 

 

"The main triggers of eyelid twitching are stress, not getting a full night's rest, dehydration, and too much caffeine," says Dr. Shah. "The first things I would ask a patient about are their sleeping habits, stress levels, and caffeine consumption."

 

Some easy changes to make include:

 

- Replacing caffeinated beverages with herbal tea or sparkling water

- Going to bed earlier

- Meditating to relieve stress

- Cutting back on alcohol 

 

Should I Be Concerned that I Have an Underlying Condition?

If the patient doesn't have any of the lifestyle indicators, or the twitching is persistent even with lifestyle modifications, then "we want to make sure it isn't neurological," says Dr. Shah. 

 

Some red flags to look out for are: 

 

- Facial paralysis

- Facial spasms

- Intense headaches

- Blurry vision

- Sensitivity to light

 

These symptoms could point to brain lesions, brain stem lesions, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and other rare conditions. "It's important to confirm that the twitching isn't a sign of an underlying neurologic disorder, which it often isn't," says Dr. Volfson. “But I would do a good neurological examination."

 

Another uncommon condition that twitching may indicate is blepharospasm, which is an involuntary blinking of the eye due to the tightening of muscles. "Eyelid twitching can be a precursor to blepharospasm, but it is very rare," emphasizes Dr. Volfson.

 

When talking to your doctor, be upfront about your daily habits, as well any other symptoms. The more details they have, the easier it is to help you make that irritating twitch go away.