Sometimes when we have been staring at the computer screen for too long, or we have been awake for too many hours, our eyelids would start twitching. This involuntary muscle movement can be caused by tiredness and stress, and will probably go away after a good eight-hour sleep. However, there are times when the eyelid twitching won’t stop, or the eyeball itself is twitching involuntarily. These are the times when we may need to see our eye doctor and find out what’s wrong with our eyes.

Causes of eyelid twitching

The exact causes of eyelid twitching is unknown. It can develop during times of increased stress. It can also appear when a person has too much caffeine in his system. Sometimes, eyelid twitching can result from fatigue or excessive squinting. It can also occur after reading a book, or working in front of a computer for prolonged periods of time. An eyelid twitch will sometimes go away following a good night’s sleep, but there are times that a stubborn twitch may last as long as three weeks.

Below is a list of some of the more common causes of eye twitch:

  • Fatigue or lack of sleep
  • Over consumption of caffeine
  • Physical or emotional stress
  • Anxiety or phobias
  • Brain damage or other neurological disorders
  • Associated with temper tantrums (especially in children)
  • Eye stress associated with extended viewing of the computer screen
  • Epilepsy

Eye Twitching Why Does my Eye Twitch?

When both eyelids are twitching

When both eyelids are affected with involuntary twitching, the condition has progressed to  blephorospasm. It is a chronic condition that commonly affects women over 50. Blephorospasm can progress into repeated forceful closing of the eyes. Its cause has not yet been identified, but it may be worsened by stress, bright lights, watching too much TV, and fatigue.

When the eyeball twitches

Temporary twitches of the muscles around the eyes are technically called Fasciculation. However, there are times when it’s not just the muscle that’s moving, but the eyeball itself. This involuntary twitching of the eyeball is called Nystagmus. This is caused by a defect in the eye’s motor system.

You should visit your opthalmologist immediately if the eye ball jumps, or the eye twitching is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Twitches cause your eyelids to completely close
  • Redness, swelling, or discharge from the eye
  • Sensitivity to light or vision is blurred
  • Twitching extends from the eye to other parts of the face
  • Twitches are uncomfortable or painful
  • Twitches increase in frequency and intensity
  • Twitches do not disappear within 7 days
  • Twitches are accompanied by fever

Remedies for Eye Twitching

For twitches that are caused by stress or tiredness, try applying a warm compress to the area around the eye. Gently massage the eyelid with your fingers. For eyelid twitches that last longer than 2 or 3 days, over-the-counter oral or topical (eye drop) antihistamines may offer some relief. Although not a direct treatment, antihistamines slow down the muscle contractions, or twitching, making it less annoying.

For those Blephorospasm, the typical treatment is a Botox injection. If botox is injected in small amounts in the area around the twitch, it should relax the muscles and make them stop moving. The injection will work only for several months, and the injection eventually will have to be repeat. This treatment has been reported to be very successful with very few side effects. The few rare side effects that can occur are eyelid drooping, double vision, and dry eyes. These side effects can appear at later stages of the treatment.

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