During a regular workday, one of the most common questions I get asked is how to get rid of a pesky eyelid twitch. They are never fun and can significantly affect productivity.
But before I answer, let’s talk about what an eyelid twitch really is.
What Are Eyelid Twitches?
Eyelid twitching is usually a widespread occurrence in today’s fast-paced world. It affects mainly the lower eyelid but can affect the upper eyelid as well. Typically, these twitches are random and can last seconds to weeks or even months, depending on the situation.
Myokymia, or an eyelid twitch, is an involuntary spasm of the upper and lower eyelid muscles. The eyelid spasms are repetitive and usually occur for a few seconds throughout two or so minutes.
While eye twitching is rarely a cause for concern, it can be an early indicator of severe underlying conditions. Keep in mind that only a medical professional can diagnose medical complications resulting in eyelid muscles contracting.
What Causes of Eyelid Twitch?
There are specific common triggers that cause eyelid twitching. Most are harmless, while others are very dangerous. Knowing how to distinguish which one is which can be very important. The most common types of eye twitching are:
- Stress: Stress is the most common trigger when it comes to eyelid twitching. Ever notice that the twitching occurs at times when you are the most stressed?
- Eyelid Strain: The most common cause of eye strain is looking at a digital device like computer screens, laptops, and tablets for hours at a time without any real break. Your eyes’ focusing system depends on the muscles that help you to focus. Like any other muscle in your body, your eyes’ muscles can become tired and unable to concentrate correctly.
- Fatigue: Most people don’t get enough sleep these days. So, it’s little wonder that we’re sleepy and tired throughout the day. Prolonged fatigue, along with eye strain, can trigger an eyelid twitch.
- Caffeine: Sources of caffeine like coffee, sodas, and tea can trigger an eyelid twitch. Try to cut back on these caffeine sources for at least a week and see if your eyelid twitch gets better.
How to Stop Eye Twitching
Once you identify your eyestrain’s root cause, there are many ways to counteract the annoying phenomenon:
- Reduce Stress: Meditating, doing yoga, exercising, or spending time with friends and family can go a long way to reduce stress and ease eyelid twitching.
- Reduce Strain: You can take regimented breaks like following the 20-20-20 rule when using digital devices. Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen for 20 seconds at an object at least 20 feet away from you. This will rest the focusing system and prevent fatigue and strain. You can also order a pair of blue light computer glasses to help relieve issues.
- Minimize Screen Time: Make sure to put away digital devices like cell phones and tablets one hour before you go to bed. This assures you of a better sleep cycle and a good night’s rest.
- Cold Compresses: Use a cold compress over the affected eye to cool it down and slow down the eyelid twitch’s progression.
- Artificial Tears: eep a bottle of eye drops in the refrigerator and put a drop in your eye whenever you get an episode of eyelid twitch. This will soothe dry eyes and lubricate them at the same time, which will help calm the twitches.
When to Worry About Eye Twitching
If the eyelid twitch persists, there could be some neurological condition causing it. Make an appointment with your eye doctor immediately so that you can be adequately diagnosed and sent to the appropriate specialist if any of the following symptoms occur:
- A drooping eyelid
- An inflamed eye that is irritated, swollen, or has discharge
- Other parts of your face or body are twitching
- Your eyelid shuts when twitching occurs, and it’s difficult to open back up
- Symptoms last for more than a few weeks
Eyelid Spasms: Putting It Together
Eyelid twitches are widespread because all of us suffer from stress, fatigue, eye strain, and drinking too much caffeine.
By taking better care of ourselves and our eye health, we can significantly reduce the incidence of annoying eyelid twitches and improve the quality of our day.
That said, if all the triggers are alleviated and eyelid twitches remain, then it is prudent to contact an eye doctor to make sure the root cause isn’t anything serious or life-threatening.