An eyelid jerk, or myokymia, is a redundant, automatic fit of the eyelid muscles. A jerk ordinarily happens in the upper top, however it can happen in both the upper and lower tops.
For the vast majority, these fits are mellow and feel like a delicate pull on the eyelid.
Others may encounter a fit sufficiently able to drive the two eyelids to close totally. This is an alternate condition called blepharospasm.
Fits commonly happen like clockwork for a moment or two.
Scenes of eyelid jerking are eccentric. The jerk may happen now and again for a few days. At that point, you may not encounter any jerking for quite a long time or even months.
The jerks are effortless and innocuous, yet they may trouble you. Most fits will resolve all alone without the requirement for treatment.
In uncommon cases, eyelid fits might be an early admonition indication of a persistent development problem, particularly if the fits are joined by other facial jerks or wild developments.
What causes eyelid twitches?
Eyelid spasms may occur without any identifiable cause. Since they’re rarely a sign of a serious problem, the cause isn’t usually investigated.
Nevertheless, eyelid twitches may be caused or made worse by:
- eye irritation
- eyelid strain
- lack of sleep
- physical exertion
- medication side effects
- use of alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine
If the spasms become chronic, you may have what’s known as “benign essential blepharospasm,” which is the name for chronic and uncontrollable winking or blinking.
This condition typically affects both eyes. The exact cause of the condition is unknown, but the following may make spasms worse:
- blepharitis, or inflammation of the eyelid
- conjunctivitis, or pinkeye
- dry eyes
- environmental irritants, such as wind, bright lights, sun, or air pollution
- light sensitivity
- too much alcohol or caffeine
Benign essential blepharospasm is more common in women than in men.
According to Genetics Home Reference, it affects approximately 50,000 Americans and usually develops in middle to late adulthood.
The condition will likely worsen over time, and it may eventually cause:
- blurry vision
- increased sensitivity to light
- facial spasms
Complications of eyelid twitches
Very rarely, eyelid spasms are a symptom of a more serious brain or nerve disorder.
When eyelid twitches are a result of these more serious conditions, they’re almost always accompanied by other symptoms.
Brain and nerve disorders that may cause eyelid twitches include:
- Bell’s palsy (facial palsy), which is a condition that causes one side of your face to droop downward
- dystonia, which causes unexpected muscle spasms and the affected area’s body part to twist or contort
- cervical dystonia (spasmodic torticollis), which causes the neck to randomly spasm and the head to twist into uncomfortable positions
- multiple sclerosis (MS), which is a disease of the central nervous system that causes cognitive and movement problems, as well as fatigue
- Parkinson’s disease, which can cause trembling limbs, muscle stiffness, balance problems, and difficulty speaking
- Tourette syndrome, which is characterized by involuntary movement and verbal tics
Undiagnosed corneal scratches can also cause eyelid twitches.
If you think you have an eye injury, see your optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately. Corneal scratches can cause permanent eye damage.
When do eyelid twitches require a visit to the doctor?
Eyelid twitches are rarely serious enough to require emergency medical treatment. However, chronic eyelid spasms may be a symptom of a more serious brain or nervous system disorder.
You may need to see your doctor if you’re having chronic eyelid spasms along with any of the following symptoms:
- Your eye is red, swollen, or has an unusual discharge.
- Your upper eyelid is drooping.
- Your eyelid completely closes each time your eyelids twitch.
- The twitching continues for several weeks.
- The twitching begins affecting other parts of your face.
How are eyelid twitches treated?
Most eyelid spasms go away without treatment in a few days or weeks. If they don’t go away, you can try to eliminate or decrease potential causes.
The most common causes of eyelid twitching are stress, fatigue, and caffeine.
To ease eye twitching, you might want to try the following:
- Drink less caffeine.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Keep your eye surfaces lubricated with over-the-counter artificial tears or eye drops.
- Apply a warm compress to your eyes when a spasm begins.
Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections are sometimes used to treat benign essential blepharospasm. Botox may ease severe spasms for a few months. However, as the effects of the injection wear off, you may need further injections.
Surgery to remove some of the muscles and nerves in the eyelids (myectomy) can also treat more severe cases of benign essential blepharospasm.
How can you prevent eyelid twitches?
If your eyelid spasms are happening more frequently, keep a journal and note when they occur.
Note your intake of caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol, as well as your level of stress and how much sleep you’ve been getting in the periods leading up to and during the eyelid twitching.
If you notice that you have more spasms when you aren’t getting enough sleep, try to go to bed 30 minutes to an hour earlier to help ease the strain on your eyelids and reduce your spasms.