Blepharospasm is the technical term for eye twitching. Blepharospasm is defined as abnormal involuntary blinking, eye twitching or eye spasms of the eyelids. The involuntary eye movements are caused by uncontrollable contractions of the muscles around the eyelids. Eye twitching is usually experienced under just one eye, but the top of the eyelid and/or both eyes can also be involved. Eye twitching comes and goes but can last for weeks and even months at a time. While involuntary Eye Twitching sounds serious, it is relatively common with most people experiencing it at one point in their life.
How do you get Eye Twitches?
Eye Twitching occurs when the basal ganglion abnormally functions for various reasons. The basal ganglion is the part of the brain that is responsible for controlling the muscles. Some of the causes for the abnormal functioning of the basal ganglion include:
- Stress: If you experience eye twitching while under stress reducing your stress may alleviate the eye twitching.
- Anxiety: If you are anxious and experiencing eye twitching, reduce your anxiety to get rid of the spasms. Stress, fatigue and anxiety appear to be the most common causes of eye twitching
- Overexposure to bright lights: Bright lights can cause eye strain which can trigger eye twitches.
- Lack of sleep: Not enough sleep can trigger eye twitching; catching up on your sleep may be the best treatment for eye spasms.
- Prolonged staring or eye strain: Eye twitching can be triggered if your eyes are forced to work too hard.
- Neurological disorders including Tourette’s Syndrome
- Alcohol or Caffeine: Eye twitches can be triggered by too much alcohol or caffeine intake; to alleviate the eye spasms try reducing the amount of alcohol or caffeine consumed.
- Dry eyes: Having dry eyes can trigger eye twitching, treating dry eyes can help stop eye spasms.
- Nutritional Imbalances: Some people believe that lack of certain minerals and nutritional substances like the lack of magnesium can trigger eye twitches. If you experience eye twitching a nutritional deficiency might be the cause.
- Allergies: Eye allergies can cause itching, swelling and watery eyes. When irritated eyes are rubbed histamine is released into eyelid tissues and tears. Some evidence suggests that histamine can cause eye spasms. Try treating your allergies to alleviate eye spasms.
While the main cause for eye twitching is the abnormal functioning of the basal ganglion, it is also possible that eye twitching is hereditary. If you experience occasional eye twitching than chances are someone else in your family has also experienced eye twitching.
Treating Eyelid Twitching
Most of the time sudden eyelid twitching is not serious nor is it a sign of a medical problem. Usually, treating an eyelid twitch that comes on suddenly means finding the root of the problem and solving that – whether its reducing caffeine intake, reducing stress, getting more rest, treating dry eyes or getting a new glasses or contact lens prescription.
There are more serious forms of eyelid twitching that are caused by neurological conditions. These conditions are somewhat rare (less than 1 in 20,000 patients with twitching). Persistant twitching is worth an evaluation.