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Reasons for Involuntary Eyelid Twitching

Annoying and often a cause of social embarrassment, eyelid twitching is quite common, and here are a few reasons that might cause your eyelids to twitch involuntarily.
Prashant Magar
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
Involuntary twitching of eyes is usually a benign condition, caused due to stress or eye fatigue and involves slight spasms, usually of the lower eyelid. Also called 'Blepharospasm'; it is characterized by involuntary or excessive twitching or blinking of the eye. In its most common form, the twitches are minor and disappear on their own, within a few hours. For some people though, it can become quite embarrassing, as the twitches culminate in squinting or blinking. In the most severe cases, the person might not be able to open his/her eyes; resulting in visual impairment.
If the twitching spreads to other parts of the face, or continues for more than a week, you should contact a physician, as the underlying cause could be an infection or eye problems.
Reasons for Involuntary Eyelid Twitches
The reasons for eyelid twitching are not clearly understood and might differ widely in individuals. Usually, lifestyle factors such as stress are blamed. Here are a few others -
Eye Strain
Eye strain or fatigue, caused due to staring at computer screens, driving, straining or reading for extended periods of time; can lead to eyelid twitching.
Solution - Looking away from your computer screen every 20 minutes or so, and reading in appropriate lighting and blinking frequently will help the eyes to relax and reduce fatigue.

Dry Eyes
Lacrimal glands are constantly producing tears, which keep the eyes lubricated and moist. When the glands cannot produce enough or good quality tears, eyes become dry and irritated.
Solution - Avoid rubbing the eyes when they feel irritated, stay well hydrated and use a humidifier and air filter indoors. Lubricating eye drops are also helpful, but consult your physician before using them.

The term stress is used when a person is feeling overwhelmed or pressurized to handle the day-to-day activities; and can be caused due to a myriad of reasons, such as a new job or project, family responsibility, finances, etc.
Solution - Meditating and deep breathing for a few minutes, when you feel your stress levels shooting, might help with the twitching.

Feeling tired or fatigued is also linked to eyelid twitching. It can be physical where in a person suffers from lack of energy to perform physical tasks like climbing stairs; or psychological fatigue, when a person is unable to concentrate and has a 'fuzzy brain'.
Solution - Take a break and listen to some soothing music, and place a clean washcloth soaked with warm water on your eyelids.

Lack of Sleep
Lack of sleep, either due to lack of time or frequent disturbances, such as nightmares can be responsible for involuntary twitching of eyes, along with memory and cognitive problems.
Solution - Napping for 10 - 20 minutes in the afternoon might help increase the snooze-time. Also try and sleep in a cool, dark and quiet room to get a better quality sleep.

Irritant - Irritants that may cause eye twitching include dust particles, bright lights or allergens for those suffering from allergies.
Solution - Using sunglasses when going out might protect your eyes from bright light and dust; antihistamines prescribed by your physician might also help.

Caffeine, Alcohol or Smoking
Substance like caffeine, alcohol and tobacco are also thought to cause involuntary eye twitching.
Solution - Reduce consumption of tea, coffee, sodas and alcoholic drinks. Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke.

Dietary Deficiency
It is speculated that certain vitamin or mineral deficiencies, especially magnesium, might also lead to twitching of your eyelids.
Solution - Following a healthy diet, full of green, leafy vegetables might help balance the minerals and vitamins. Drinking plenty of water is also helpful.

Medical Conditions
Some medical conditions and diseases that might cause involuntary eyelid twitching include -
  • Tourette's Syndrome
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Dystonia
  • Bell's Palsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Eye infections like conjunctivitis

When to Contact a Doctor Although, eye twitches are usually a minor nuisance, they could be the first sign of a more serious problem, like a brain lesion or Parkinson's Disease. If you observe the following symptoms, do contact a physician.

► Your eyelid twitches for more than a week.
► Your eyes get completely closed due to twitching.
► Your eyes are swollen, red or have a discharge.
► Other parts of the face such as nose, forehead or neck are also twitching.
► If your upper eyelid is drooping.

The reasons for involuntary eyelid twitching are not understood clearly, much like the common cold or flu, but stress and dry eyes are thought to be the most common ones.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for the advice of a mental health expert.