What is Causing my Eye to Twitch?
Many people complain of a twitching eye or an eye twitch. This is a common problem and while it rarely causes further health issues it does present an annoyance.
What Exactly is an Eye Twitch?
An eye twitch is also known as myokymia or blepharospasm depending on what muscles are involved and whether it is one eye or both eyes.
Mild Eye Twitch or Myokymia
Myokymia is much more common and is what most people associate with an eye twitch. This causes the upper eyelid to twitch or move in small random movements.
This type of eye twitch only affects one eye, and only affects the upper eyelid. When the muscles in the upper eyelid, called the orbicularis oculi, contracts rapidly and randomly an eye twitch occurs.
As this is only one muscle, it can occur without being visible to an observer. However, at times this type of twitch can be visible if it is very severe or strong.
Myokymia does not reduce vision unless it causes the upper lid to droop into the line of sight, which is very rare.
In most cases, myokymia type eye twitches will only last a few seconds to a minute but may occur several times a day.
Severe Eye Twitch or Blepharospasm
A very severe form of eye twitch is called blepharospasm. Blepharospasm involves both eyes and all of the muscles in the eyelid and forehead.
In this severe eye twitch, both eyes will close and the forehead will contract downward to forcibly close the eyes.
When the eyes twitch in blepharospasm, the vision is obstructed since the eyes close. This can cause serious issues for daily activities such as driving or working.
Additionally, there will be a significant visible change to the appearance during these eye twitches. The eyes will appear to strain and then close tightly and may appear to flutter for a moment.
Blepharospasm twitches will likely last a little longer than myokymia twitches and may extend for a full minute or even longer.
Causes of Eye Twitches
Eye twitches are commonly without a known cause and occur due to unknown factors. If there is a cause of the eye twitch, it is often due to a stressful event or substance.
Common causes of twitches are caffeine, medications, specific foods or types of foods, or even a lack of sleep.
Treatment for Eye Twitches
There is very little accepted treatment for eye twitches. The main treatment is to remove a potential trigger of the twitches.
Another potential treatment for severe eye twitches is a Botox injection in the forehead. These injections have been shown to reduce the number and the intensity of the eye twitches.
Since the injection has some potential side effects, it is not recommended for mild eye twitches like myokymia.
The common treatment for myokymia is recognizing and eliminating the trigger of the twitch. If a certain food product, medication, or stress is always associated with the twitch, modifying your lifestyle to remove these triggers is the best treatment for the eye twitch.
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