Eyelid Twitching

Sunday, Aug 1, 2021 by Nisha Gupta, MD

This month we will discuss eyelid twitching also called ocular myokymia.

What is an eyelid twitch?

Twitching occurs when your eyelid has a quick movement that does not affect your vision. It is very common and is usually benign. It can affect any eyelid. Most of the time, it does not last very long, but it can recur over a few days.

What are some of the causes?

The most common causes include stress and lack of sleep. Other causes include caffeine, alcohol, smoking, bright lights, and wind.

Are there other forms of eyelid twitching?

Essential blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm are forms of eyelid spasms. Blepharospasm is when the eyelid(s) close involuntarily. This can last seconds to a few hours and can cause a very tight closing of the eyelids. Doctors are not completely sure why this happens, but it involves a nerve impulse to the muscles. Hemifacial spasm is when the muscles of one side of the face tighten. This can last a longer period of time and involves the facial nerve.

How are eyelid twitches treated?

Ocular myokymia: This form of twitches will go way on its own. Lifestyle changes that affect the causes listed above will help to lessen the occurrence of these twitches.

Essential blepharospasm: Botulinum toxin injections and other medications can treat these spasms. Surgery is an option if other treatments have not worked.

Hemifacial spasm: This is also treated with botulinum toxin injections or other medications if those do not work.

It is important to see a doctor if the twitching is getting worse or not going away. If any other symptoms occur like drooping of the eyelid or redness, that is also an indication to see a doctor.

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