Twitches & Spasms – when your eyelid muscles do their own thing

From time to time, most of us have probably felt our eyelids twitch, which means they move slightly and rapidly. This tends to happen more in your upper eyelid. The lid moves every few seconds, usually just for a minute or two.

These movements also called “tics,” are involuntary and do not affect vision. Even though we can feel them, usually they are not noticeable to other people. They can be distracting, however, especially if they last a long time and are frequent. Let’s examine some possible causes and remedies for this common occurrence.

Causes:  Your eyelid might twitch because of an unusual signal in your brain or the muscles of your face.
Everyday things that can trigger this include:

• Fatigue
• Stress
• Caffeine
• Alcohol
• Smoking
• Light sensitivity
• Dry eyes
• Some medications, especially those that treat psychosis and epilepsy

Remedies: You may be able to reduce or stop eyelid twitching by getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and limiting your consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. A warm, damp compress may give temporary relief. If you have dry eyes, you might want to see if over-the-counter moisturizing eye drops (artificial tears) will help.

In addition to minor twitches, other types of involuntary eyelid movements include essential blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm.

Essential blepharospasm is when one or both of your eyelids close involuntarily for a few seconds to a few hours. In advanced stages, this may interfere with daily life. There’s no cure, but your ophthalmologist can help ease your symptoms.

Hemifacial spasm is when muscles on one side of your face constrict (tighten up). These spasms may start near your eye and then affect other parts of your face. In advanced cases, a hemifacial spasm can last for several days to a few months.

Whether you have a minor twitch or more noticeable spasm, talk to your Atlantic Eye ophthalmologist if:

• The twitch lasts more than 1 week
• Your eyelid closes completely
• Spasms involve other facial muscles
• You have eye redness, swelling, or discharge
• Your upper eyelid droops

Call Atlantic Eye with your eye-related questions or to make an appointment at one of our convenient office locations: 732-222-7373.