A twitch is a repetitive, involuntary spasm of the muscles surrounding the eye, occurring every few seconds and for as long as a few minutes. They might even come and go for several days or even weeks, typically impacting the lower eyelid but sometimes the upper eyelid too. Although eye twitches can be annoying, they are rarely a cause for alarm and are actually very common when it comes to eye care.
Eye contractions, called myokymia, have many potential causes including stress, fatigue, eye strain, caffeine, alcohol, dry eyes, nutritional imbalances and allergies. Twitching may be a sign of lack of sleep, and a need for glasses or change in prescription. Computer eye strain can often cause the kind of vision-related stress that causes twitching.
Eye twitching can also be a sign of benign essential blepharospasm or hemifacial spasm. Blepharospasm isn’t a serious condition but a severe case can lead to sensitivity and even facial spasms. It typically starts with excessive blinking and eye irritation triggered by stress, fatigue or eye irritants. Hemifacial spasms are very rare and often involve the muscles around the mouth or one side of the face.
An eye twitch will usually disappear by getting enough rest and reducing stress or eye strain. You should see an eye doctor if twitching persists for more than a week, completely closes an eyelid, involves other facial muscles, causes discharge, or involves the drooping of the upper eyelid.
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