Eyelid Twitching

Overview

Why is my eyelid twitching?

Eyelid twitching is usually not a sign of a serious health problem, but in some cases it can be a serious inconvenience. Fortunately, eyelid twitches frequently stop on their own, without any treatment.

Medical conditions that can cause your eyelid (or both of your eyelids) to twitch include:

  • Blepharospasm: A condition in the nervous system that causes increased blinking and involuntary closing of both eyes. Blepharospasm is sometimes linked to a problem in a part of the brain called the basal ganglia, and this can be inherited.
  • Hemifacial spasm: This condition causes contractions of muscles on one side of the face, including the eyelids. Hemifacial spasm is believed to be caused by an irritation of the facial nerve.
  • Eyelid myokymia: Another condition that usually involves one eye and is less forceful than blepharospasm.

Possible Causes

What causes eyelid twitching?

A variety of factors can cause twitching apart from the medical conditions previously mentioned. These conditions can include:

  • Irritation or dryness of the eyes
  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much stress
  • Too much caffeine

Care and Treatment

What can I do about my eyelid twitch?

A few things you can try on your own are more sleep, less caffeine, and managing your stress level. Tinted glasses – particularly a rose tint called FL-41 – might help if your eyes are very sensitive to light.

If you decide to seek help from a doctor, possible treatments include the use of eye drops to keep your eyes from drying out or injections of botulinum toxin (Botox®) to weaken the muscles that are twitching. Medications that come in pills are available but not always helpful.

If your problem is severe and other approaches don’t work, your doctor might decide you need an operation. The most common surgical approach is a myectomy, which is the removal of portions of muscle.

When to Call the Doctor

When should I see a doctor about my eyelid twitch?

Generally, it is a good idea to seek help if you experience:

  • Twitching that lasts more than a few days
  • Red eyes
  • Swelling
  • Discharge from the eye
  • Light-headedness
  • Decrease in the quality of your vision

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/21/2017.

References

  • National Eye Institute. Accessed 1/29/2018.Facts about Blepharospasm. (https://nei.nih.gov/health/blepha/blepharospasm)
  • Benign Essential Blepharospasm Research Foundation. Accessed 1/29/2018.Blepharospasm. (https://www.blepharospasm.org/blepharospasm.html)
  • US National Library of Medicine. Accessed 1/29/2018.Botox. (https://medlineplus.gov/botox.html)
  • American Psychological Association. Accessed 1/29/2018.Five tips to help manage stress. (http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/manage-stress.aspx)

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