A twitching eye is a strange sensation. Suddenly, a formerly controllable body part, your eyelid, seemingly takes on a life of its own. You may realize your eyelid won’t stop quivering or twitching no matter how hard you concentrate. What we term “eye twitch” is a muscle spasm that occurs in either the upper or lower eyelid. This spasm may be barely noticeable, or it may be irritating and troublesome. Most of us experience an eye twitch from time to time, wait for it to pass, and give it no more than a puzzled thought. But if you experience eye twitching more often, you may be wondering what triggers this strange occurrence.
10. Allergic Reactions
The histamine release of allergic reactions can result in red, itchy eyes. Rubbing your eyes increases the irritation to delicate eye tissues. Treating allergies with antihistamines, steroid nasal sprays, and eye drops may help alleviate the trauma to the eyes that triggers eye twitching. Consult your physician if you experience persistent, uncontrollable twitching or any difficulty in moving your eyes or parts of your face.
9. Drowsiness and Fatigue
If you haven’t been getting enough sleep, the muscles of your eyelids are just as susceptible to fatigue as the larger muscles of your body. Prevent eye twitches caused by a lack of shut-eye by getting about seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you find it difficult to fall asleep at night, set the stage by dimming the lights and engaging in quiet activities before bedtime. Avoid drinking alcohol or eating heavy meals within two hours of bedtime. Include physical exercise in your daily routine and employ stress-relieving techniques to help you drift off to sleep at night.
8. Dry Eyes
Dry eyes can contribute to eye twitching. According to the Mayo Clinic, dry eye can be caused by many factors. These include a decreased production of tears, an increase in the evaporation of tears, and changes in the makeup of tears. Tear production may decrease in individuals over the age of 50. Additionally, autoimmune disorders such as diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, and thyroid disorders may decrease your body’s ability to manufacture the tears needed to keep your eyes properly moist. Schedule a visit with your doctor if you suffer from red, painful, irritated eyes in order to determine the underlying cause.
7. Excessive Stress
Your body has ways of betraying your feelings of stress, tension, and anxiety. Ignoring the effects of high-pressure life circumstances can cause your body to rebel. Pay attention to physical signs that mental stress is getting the best of you. Look for ways to release tension through physical activity, deep breathing exercises, journaling, or prayer. Make time to relieve stress by connecting with friends and family through phone calls, lunch dates, or getting out together for a hike. Unplugging from screens and enjoying a bubble bath or listening to calming music may help restore peace to your mind and body.
6. Eye Strain
One result of spending too much time staring at computer screens is weakened and irritated eye muscles. The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers several tips for preventing eye strain from staring at screens. One such tip involves the 20-20-20 rule. This entails looking away from your screen every 20 minutes to gaze for 20 seconds at an object at least 20 feet away. Other ways to protect your eyes when using screens include reducing glare and sitting an arm’s length away from the screen. Lastly, make sure your screen isn’t excessively brighter than the light in the room around you.
5. Medication Side Effects
The side effects of some medications may cause your eye muscles to twitch. Some medications cause this by drying out your eyes. Such medications include antihistamines, some blood pressure medications, and antidepressants. Additionally, Parkinson’s medications may also cause twitching. Anticholinergic drugs are agents that block the action of acetylcholine in the brain. This helps to decrease the involuntary movements associated with Parkinson’s disease. However, it also causes drying side effects of blurry vision, a parched mouth, and difficulty urinating.
Smoke from wood-burning stoves or campfires can dry out and irritate your eyes. So can secondhand smoke if you are often in the company of smokers. Smoking tobacco yourself adds the negative effects of smoke and nicotine on your organs. Smoking not only affects your lungs and blood vessels but also affects the muscles and tissues of your eyes. If you are plagued by dry eyes and eye twitching, avoid situations in which you are exposed to smoke. If you are a smoker, employ techniques to break the smoking habit and improve your health.
3. Something You Drank
Consuming too much caffeine or alcohol may cause irritating eye twitches. If you enjoy several cups of coffee or servings of caffeinated sodas each day, try cutting back or switching to decaf to see if this helps. Decaffeinated herbal teas are other good choices when you are accustomed to sipping a steamy beverage throughout the day. If you suspect alcohol use is contributing to twitching, give abstinence from alcoholic beverages a trial run. Keep your body well hydrated with plain or fruit-infused water to decrease the effects of dehydrated body tissues and muscles.Related: 10 Foods That May Improve Eye Health and Prevent Glaucoma
2. Vitamin or Mineral Deficiencies
Some blame muscle spasms on nutritional deficiencies, such as a lack of vitamin D or vitamin B12. A deficiency of minerals or electrolytes such as magnesium or potassium is sometimes associated with twitches, cramping, and spasms. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet to prevent deficiencies that will set your eye muscles twinging and twanging.
1. Benign Essential Blepharospasm
Benign essential blepharospasm (BEB) refers to a neurological condition in which the muscles of the eye undergo chronic spasms and contractions. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, this rare disease can progressively worsen until the patient suffers from an inability to open his or her eyes for extended periods of time. Treatment for this condition may include Botox injections to prevent the muscle contractions that interfere with a patient’s vision.Related: 14 Simple Ways to Protect Your Eyes