Why is My Eyelid Twitching? And Is It Serious?

eye twitchesAs a surgeon who specializes in eyelid surgery and the treatment of various eye conditions such as watery eyes, we sometimes have patients contact us concerned that their eyelids are twitching. This can be a symptom of a more serious condition such as blepharospasm or a hemifacial spasm, but more than likely the cause of your twitching eyelid is relatively benign.

Here are the usual culprits behind your twitching eyelids, or what we call in the profession “myokymia.”

Fatigue
Lack of sleep can lead directly to eyelid twitching.

Stress
Stress affects each of us differently. For some, it can show itself in a twitching eyelid. Often this is a side result of eye strain from something like too much time looking at a computer screen while you’re stressing out about the report you have to finish.

Eye Strain
Stress can be vision related, as well. If your prescription is out of date, your eyes have to work harder than they need to just to perform routine tasks. This can stress them out, and they start twitching. An eye exam to correct your glasses or contacts will solve the problem.

Computer eye strain is prevalent nowadays. If you have to work in front of a screen all day your eyelids may start twitching. To give them a periodic break, follow the “20-20-20 rule.” Every 20 minutes look away from your screen and allow your eyes to focus on a distant object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds or longer. This reduces the eye muscle fatigue that is likely behind your twitching.

Caffeine
Too many cups of joe can make your eyelids twitch. Try cutting back on whatever source your caffeine comes from for a week or two and see if the twitching stops.

Dry eyes
If you’re over 50, it’s not unusual to have dry eyes. The condition is also common in those who use computers all day long, take medications such as antihistamines and antidepressants, wear contacts, or consume lots of coffee or alcohol.

If your eyelid is twitching and your eyes feel gritty or dry, come see Dr. Shams for a dry eye evaluation. Restoring the eye’s moisture may stop your twitching.

Allergies
If you have allergies, you may have itching, watery eyes. When you then rub your eyes, this releases histamine into the lid tissues and the tears. Research shows that histamine can cause eyelid twitching. Antihistamine drops can help, but antihistamines can also cause dry eyes.

If you have twitching eyelids and they don’t respond to the fixes described above, call Dr. Shams and let’s take a look.

Posted in: Eye Care, Eye Condition

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My NHS practice is based at the world-renowned Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. I consult private patients at Moorfields Private Eye Hospital, Optegra London Eye Hospital and The Harley Street Clinic.