Eyelid Twitching? Here Are A Few Reasons!
People wear protective eyeglasses or sunglasses to protect their eyes. Just like that, our eyelids protect the insides of our eyes, like the cornea, lens, sclera, iris, and more. These eyelids are responsible for keeping our eyes lubricated and safe from other environmental factors.
For most people, even those who wear lenses or eyeglasses, the eyelids open smoothly without any problems. But since every human differs in health, people can experience twitching eyelids or spasms.
These twitches or spasms can range from severe to mild. But why does this happen? Here are a few possible causes:
Why Are My Eyelids Twitching?
Eyelids have muscles and nerves that carry out essential, vital functions. For instance, the orbicularis oculi muscle stimulates the eyelids and closes them. Eye spasms or twitching can occur when these muscles are affected.
The common causes of eye spasms or twitching include:
1. Hemifacial Spasm
Hemifacial spasm is a neuromuscular disorder that makes the facial muscles of one side of the face twitch involuntarily. This uncontrollable spasm is mostly due to blood vessels pressing against facial nerves.
In highly rare cases, hemifacial spasms can also occur due to previous facial nerve trauma or compression caused by a brain tumor. The hemifacial spasm occurs on an entire side of the face instead of just the eyelid.
2. Eyelid Myokymia
Myokymia is the involuntary *fluttering or quivering) muscular movement. Eyelid myokymia involves the involuntary movement of orbicularis oculi that causes the eyelid to contract or flutter excessively, creating a feeling of eye twitching.
Eyelid myokymia can happen to lenses and eyeglasses wearers. It is a harmless condition that doesn’t affect vision in any way. It is simply a nuisance for many and happens in the eyelid, either intermittently or briefly. Eyelid myokymia can be caused by stress, tiredness, or an over caffeine consumption.
3. Essential Blepharospasm
Blepharospasm, or essential blepharospasm, is a severe neurological disorder that makes both eyelids close involuntarily. This eye condition is also known as dystonia, which means the involved facial muscles stay contracted for a longer time.
Myokymia involves brief eye twitching. The symptoms of essential blepharospasm include frequent eyelid blinking and then eyelid closure. However, these spasms are unwanted, involuntary, and uncomfortable.
Complete eyelid closures can last as long as a few minutes to hours. The longer the eyelid closure, the more it will affect the vision. In severe cases, this eye condition can make it difficult to perform daily tasks (like reading a newspaper or book, driving a car, etc.).
Essential blepharospasm is also associated with light sensitivity, eye discomfort, and anxiety. Blepharospasm is different than eyelid myokymia as it affects both sides of the face. In contrast, eyelid myokymia only occurs on one side of the face.
When Should You Consult A Doctor?
Typical eye-twitching cases aren’t severe. However, you should still be cautious of the potential damage these eye conditions can cause. Be mindful of the occurring symptoms, as these can indicate a severe underlying problem requiring an ophthalmologist visit.
Book an appointment if the eyelid spasms and twitching persist over the days and weeks. Even if you experience difficulty while opening your eyes or moving your face, get it checked. Serious eyelid conditions can result in double vision and vision weakness, causing numbness or tingling feeling.
In other cases, you may experience drooping eyelids, or your eyes may swell or release discharge. These symptoms also indicate that you have a more severe eye condition.
Eyelid Twitching Treatments
Eyelid myokymia can be treated by simply changing your daily diet, improving your sleep hygiene, and improving your mental health. For instance, reducing the amount of daily caffeine consumption can be a plus.
Plus, limit your stressors and get a restful sleep every night. If you have dry eyes, keep them lubricated to reduce spasms. In contrast, hemifacial spasms and essential blepharospasm require extensive treatment. The treatment options include injections, medications, and (rarely) surgery.
Even if you are an eyeglass wearer, your medical history may not allow you to receive injections. They may be prescribed antispasmodic drugs, oral muscle relaxers, antipsychotic drugs, or anticonvulsant medications.
Blepharospasm can be treated with clonazepam and haloperidol. Baclofen and carbamazepine can be used to treat hemifacial spasm. In severe cases, essential blepharospasm can be treated through a procedure called protractor myectomy that removes the eyelid muscles entirely or partially.
Even if you wear eyeglasses or sunglasses regularly, eye twitching can still happen. Typically, eye spasms and twitching are usual, lasting for a few minutes. But if it persists for weeks and becomes uncomfortable, get it immediately checked by the doctor.