Why Does My Eye Keep Twitching?

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We’ve all experienced a twitching eyelid before, so we all understand the level of annoyance and irritation it can cause – even if it only lasts a couple of minutes, it often feels like an eternity before it resolves itself. And in some cases, it might not resolve itself and can persist for hours or occur frequently during the day.

Eye twitching is defined as involuntary and abnormal blinking of the eyelid. There are two primary eyelid muscles involved in the process of blinking – the orbicularis oculi muscle and levator palpebrae superioris muscle. A problem with either of these facial muscles, or any others involved in blinking, can result in chronic eye twitching.

While most cases of eyelid twitching are nothing to be concerned about and can be attributed to a wide range of preventable or correctable triggers, there are also a number of medical conditions and eye diseases that could be the culprit. Understanding the reasoning is essential if you want to prevent making the eye twitching worse.

Most Common Eye Twitching Causes

Eyelid spasms usually happens to the upper eyelid – where the orbicularis oculi muscle (closes the eye) and levator palpebrae superioris muscle (opens the eye) are located – but it can also happen to the lower eyelid and can happen to either one or both of your eyes at once. Either way, it’s bound to be annoying.

It‘s often categorized into one of four primary conditions – blepharospasm, hemifacial spasm, Meige syndrome, and eyelid myokymia. Let’s take a closer look at each one:


Blepharospasm, also referred to as benign essential blepharospasm, is characterized by involuntary twitching of the eyelid that doesn’t go away on its own. It generally happens with small twitches every now and then, but progresses to be more frequent and intense, sometimes even closing the eye completely.

An eye doctor can check for blepharospasm during a comprehensive eye exam and can be treated with injections (such as Botox or botulinum toxin) or surgery (such as myectomy) – which removes some muscle and/or nerve tissue from the eyelid to help reduce or stop twitching. Visit your doctor if twitching persists or intensifies.

Hemifacial Spasm

A hemifacial spasm is a neurological disorder characterized by twitching (also known as spasms) of the muscles around the mouth and eyelids. Unlike blepharospasm, these facial spasms only happen on one side (hemi-) of the face. In some rare cases, these spasms can cause your eyes to twitch uncontrollably.

The most common cause of a hemifacial spasm is when an artery or blood vessel is pressing on a facial nerve. In some cases, doctors struggle to find an exact cause of the spasm – known as an idiopathic hemifacial spasm. An eyelid twitch is an early symptom, but the spasms can travel to other parts of the face.

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Meige Syndrome

Meige syndrome, which was first discovered and described by French neurologist Henri Meige in 1910, is a neurological disorder that falls under an umbrella of disorders known as dystonia. It’s characterized by involuntary and/or irregular twitches (muscle contractions) of the eyelids, lower face, jaw, and tongue.

While there’s no specific test to diagnose Meige syndrome, doctors can diagnose the disease after a thorough inspection of the patient’s medical history and symptoms. Some of the treatments for Meige syndrome include medication, injections, deep brain stimulation, stereotactic brain surgery, and more.

Eyelid Myokymia

Eyelid myokymia, also known as ocular myokymia, is described as uncontrollable twitching of the eyelid that’s not attributed to or caused by a disease or pathology. It usually occurs with the lower eyelid and generally revolves itself over time – it usually won’t persist for more than a few days, maybe a week.

While eyelid myokymia isn’t caused by a disease, there are a variety of triggers that attribute to the twitching. If you address those triggers and the problem persists, your doctor will consider Botox injections, acupuncture, oral medications, supplements, herbal medicine, and other treatments.

How to Stop Eye Twitching

Like we said earlier, most cases of eyelid twitching are temporary and will resolve themselves on their own – this is especially true with eyelid myokymia. In these cases, stopping the eyelid twitches, spasms, and/or muscle contractions is simply a matter of addressing the triggers and avoiding or correcting them.

Some of the most common triggers of an eyelid spasm include:

  • Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality
  • Alcohol, caffeine, or tobacco/nicotine use
  • Poor eating habits
  • Eye strain and/or bright lights
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Dry eyes or eye irritation
  • Certain mental health medicines, medications, and other drugs

There are a number of other ways eye twitches can be addressed, such as injections (Botox), surgery, lifestyle changes, vitamin and/or mineral supplements, herbal medicine, and other alternative treatments. What’s important is that you and your eye doctor first determine what the cause of the eye twitching is.

When to Worry About Eye Twitching

Since most cases of eyelid twitching resolve themselves, they normally don’t require treatment by an eye doctor and can be handled with at-home treatment. With that said, some cases of eye twitching are more serious and severe – to the point of vision impairment, vision loss, or a depletion of one’s quality of life.

If your twitching eyelid persists longer than a few days and/or occurs frequently (keeps on coming back), a trip to your local eye doctor or ophthalmologist is the next step. Not only can they help you determine the root of the problem, but they can help treat eye twitching, help you find relief, and potentially bring your muscle spasms to an end.

Contact Milwaukee Eye Surgeons Today!

Is your eye twitch starting to grow out of control? Are you having a hard time coping with your frequent or persistent eyelid twitching? Is it starting to impact your vision and/or your quality of life? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions, then it’s time to schedule an appointment with Milwaukee Eye Surgeons.

Dr. Kenneth Weinlander, MD has a lot of experience helping patients find relief from their frequent eye twitching and would be honored to do the same with your problem. We understand the amount of annoyance, frustration, and irritation this issue can cause and we can’t wait to help you enjoy the better things in life.

To schedule an appointment with him today, contact us at (414) 377-5550 or book an appointment through our online form.

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