Having a twitch in your eyes can be disconcerting and distracting. It’s natural to wonder if an eye twitch indicates a medical problem of some kind. Particularly if it happens to you regularly.
Many people find that the twitch in their eyes lasts just a few seconds. It can be hard to predict when it will happen and how long it will go on for. You could have no problem for days or weeks, and then have several episodes of eye twitching in quick succession. Others find it a constant issue.
If it feels like a gentle fluttering sensation, it is a common issue called myokymia. This describes an involuntary spasm of the eyelid muscles, that is repetitive. Most of the time this twitch happens to your upper eyelid, though in some cases it can affect the eyelid muscles at the top and bottom. This makes it feel like your whole eye is in spasm.
In some cases, this twitching in your eye or eyes can be quite strong. Strong enough to create the urge to shut your eye. This medical condition is called blepharospasm.
Why it happens
Just like any other muscle in your body, the ones around your eye can become tense and tired. They respond to your general health, what you consume and your environment.
Eye twitching is often associated with tired eyes. The muscles around your socket can become fatigued from lack of sleep, or long periods of time using electronic devices. Perhaps you have been looking up, down and around a lot too, straining your eye muscles.
It can also be a sign your eyes are irritated, particularly if you are frequently in dusty or smoky environments, or draughts and wind for example. You may even have scratched corneas that you are unaware of.
Twitching eyes are sometimes a harmless side effect of certain medications. They can also result from the use of alcohol or drinking too many caffeine.
Lastly, twitching eyes can be a response to stress.
Seeing a doctor
If your eyes are twitching a lot it is generally harmless. Warning signs of a more serious issue include pain or vision problems. Then it is important to seek medical advice.
If the twitching in your eyes becomes a pronounced wink or blink, and it happens regularly or for long periods, this could be benign essential blepharospasm. This is usually in both eyes and has an unknown cause.
It is also important to consult a medical professional if your eye twitch becomes severe and is accompanied by other facial spasms or involuntary movements. This could indicate a neurological or movement disorder.