When is a Twitch Something to Pay Attention To?

Blepharitis London W1G 9HTMost of us have had an eyelid twitch from time to time. Usually, the upper eyelid is the guilty party, blinking and you can’t stop it. In the usual cases, the twitching goes on every few seconds for just a minute or two. These instances are usually linked to fatigue, stress, and caffeine, and they are painless, harmless, and usually go away on their own.

But sometimes the twitching doesn’t pass. This can be called blepharospasm, and in these instances, Dr. Shams may use Botox or other means to stop the twitching.

The twitching doesn’t stop

In some cases, people can have these types of eyelid spasms for an entire day, or days, weeks, even months. If the spasms are strong enough, they can make the person wink or squint at all times. Other times, they can shut the eyelid, which obviously has its problems.

This extended sort of twitching can be a sign of more serious conditions:

  • Blepharitis (inflamed eyelids)
  • Pinkeye
  • Dry eyes
  • Light sensitivity

Types of involuntary

Most of us have had an eyelid twitch from time to time. Usually the upper eyelid is the guilty party, blinking and you can’t stop it.

Minor eyelid twitching is usually due to lifestyle choices:

  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine

Minor twitching can also come from irritation to the cornea or the eyelid membranes.

Benign essential blepharospasm starts with nonstop blinking or eye irritation. As blepharospasm worsens, the person may become sensitive to light, have blurry vision, and also have facial spasms. Researchers believe this condition comes from a mix of environmental and genetic factors.

How does Dr. Shams treat involuntary eyelid spasming?

It’s time to call Dr. Shams when your eyelid twitching lasts for more than a few week; if your eyelid closes completely; if the spasms involve other facial muscles; when your upper eyelid droops; or when there is redness, swelling, or discharge from an eye.

In cases where irritation or dry eye is behind the twitching, Dr. Shams will use artificial tears.

If essential blepharospasm is the cause, Dr. Shams will use Botox injections to ease the spasms. When injected into a muscle, Botox blocks the nerve messages to contract the muscle, so the muscle remains temporarily paralyzed. You’ve heard of Botox used on wrinkles formed by muscle contractions (such as crow’s feet), but the treatment of blepharospasm was the original use approved by the FDA for Botox. The Botox will stop the muscle triggering the eyelid twitching from spasming, and the twitches will usually stop. When the Botox becomes inert in four to six months, the patient may need another injection.

If you have the symptoms above and they are enduring, call Dr. Shams, 07488 909 008, and let her take a look.

Posted in: Blepharitis, 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, Weymouth Street Hospital, Phoenix Hospital Group Outpatient Centre and The Harley Street Clinic.

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