In China, the left eyelid twitching forecasts good fortune. In India, if your left eye twitches, it’s a bad omen, but if your right eye twitches, the good news is coming your way. If you’re in Houston or elsewhere in the United States, however, eye twitching is nothing but social embarrassment.
Eye twitching is defined as the involuntary and uncontrollable blinking or spasm of the eyelid muscles in one or both eyes. For most people, the eye twitches are mild – the sensation is no more than a gentle tug on the eyelid – and disappear after a few seconds. If at all, it’s just a nuisance. The spasms go away without a need for treatment. The scientific jargon for this condition is myokymia, and it commonly affects adults aged 50 and older.
Benign essential blepharospasm (BEB), a more serious case of eye twitching, happens when your basal ganglion functions abnormally. The basal ganglion is the part of your brain responsible for controlling eyelid muscles. Usually, BEB begins gradually but the symptoms become more severe over time. The blinking becomes increasingly frequent and lengthy, and it forces you to close your eyes completely. The symptoms can severely impact the quality of life. People with blepharospasm may walk into things, trip or fall because the eyes just shut suddenly without warning.
Why does my eye twitch?
The cause of eyelid twitching is generally unknown, but the following are considered as contributing factors:
- Lack of sleep
- Eye strain
- Nutritional imbalances (magnesium deficiency)
- Excessive alcohol, tobacco or caffeine consumption
Eye spasms may also be caused by underlying eye conditions:
- Eyelid irritation (blepharitis)
- Dry eyes
- Light sensitivity (photophobia)
- Corneal scratches
There are cases, although rare, that are caused by underlying medical conditions, such as:
- Bell’s Palsy
- Parkinson’s disease
- Tourette’s syndrome
Some LASIK patients also experience eye twitching after their laser eye surgery.
Should I see an eye doctor for eye twitching?
Most cases of eye spasms are harmless and do not require emergency treatment. However, chronic eye spasms can be a sign of an underlying neurological disorder. Houston LASIK & Eye, a leading eye treatment center in Houston, recommends that you see an eye doctor if you observe the following signs and symptoms:
- Swelling of the eyelids
- Red or swollen eye
- Persistent twitching that continues for weeks
- Eyelid closes completely every time your eyelids twitch
- Facial spasms or other involuntary movements
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurry light
How to Reduce Eyelid Twitching
Minor eye twitching usually resolves itself without treatment. Getting more sleep, drinking less caffeine or alcohol, lubricating the eyes with artificial tears, and using warm compresses may help.
For blepharospasm, Houston eye doctors typically recommend botulinum toxin (Botox) injections. Botox works by blocking nerve impulses to the eyelid muscles. The effect of Botox, however, wears off after a few months so you may need retreatment. If Botox injections are ineffective in controlling your blepharospasm, a surgical procedure known as a myectomy may be recommended. Myectomy involves the removal of some or all of your eyelid muscles and nerves.
Houston LASIK & Eye leads in providing premium LASIK technologies to Houston, Sugar Land, and the surrounding region. The Center’s award-winning medical director introduced revolutionary technologies such as iLASIK to the region. This technology is used by NASA astronauts, Navy SEALS, and Air Force fighter pilots. At Houston LASIK & Eye, you can now receive the same treatment. For more information, please call (281) 240-0478.