An eyelid twitch, or myokymia, is a repetitive, involuntary spasm of the eyelid muscles. A twitch usually occurs in the upper lid, but it can occur in both the upper and lower lids. For most people, these spasms are very mild and feel like a gentle tug on the eyelid. Eyelid twitches may be caused or made worse by:
- eye irritation
- eyelid strain
- lack of sleep
- medication side effects
- use of alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine
If the spasms become chronic, you may have what’s known as “benign essential blepharospasm,” which is the name for chronic and uncontrollable winking or blinking.
Most eyelid spasms go away without treatment in a few days or weeks. If they don’t go away, you can try to eliminate or decrease potential causes. The most common causes of eyelid twitch are stress, fatigue, and caffeine. To ease eye twitching, you might want to try the following:
- Drink less caffeine.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Keep your eye surfaces lubricated with over-the-counter artificial tears or eye drops.
- Apply a warm compress to your eyes when a spasm begins.
If your eyelid spasms are happening more frequently, keep a journal and note when they occur. Note your intake of caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol, as well as your level of stress and how much sleep you’ve been getting in the periods leading up to and during the eyelid twitching.
If you notice that you have more spasms when you aren’t getting enough sleep, try to go to bed 30 minutes to an hour earlier to help ease the strain on your eyelids and reduce your spasms.
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