What is Eye Twitching or Eye Spasms?
Eye Twitching Causes & Treatments
Blepharospasm is the technical term for Eye Twitching also referred to as Eye Spasms. Blepharospasm is defined as abnormal involuntary blinking, eye twitching or eye spasms of the eyelids. The involuntary eye movements are caused by uncontrollable contractions of the muscles around the eyelids. Eye twitching is usually experienced under just one eye, but the top of the eyelid and/or both eyes can also be involved. Eye Twitching comes and goes but can last for weeks and even months at a time. While involuntary Eye Twitching sounds serious, it is relatively common with most people experiencing it at one point in their life.
There are multiple forms of Blepharospasm, most of which are common and non life threatening. Some people with neurological problems like Tourette’s syndrome may have more serious eye disorders that may require treatment. While uncontrollable blinking that occurs frequently can result in vision problems and eye irritation, most often people just find the blinking annoying.
How do you get Eye Twitches?
Eye Twitching occurs when the basal ganglion abnormally functions for various reasons. The basal ganglion is the part of the brain that is responsible for controlling the muscles. Some of the causes for the abnormal functioning of the basal ganglion include:
- Stress: If you experience eye twitching while under stress reducing your stress may alleviate the eye twitching.
- Anxiety: If you are anxious and experiencing eye twitching, reduce your anxiety to get rid of the spasms.
- Overexposure to bright lights: Bright lights can cause eye strain which can trigger eye twitches.
- Lack of sleep: Not enough sleep can trigger eye twitching; catching up on your sleep may be the best treatment for eye spasms.
- Prolonged staring or eye strain: Eye twitching can be triggered if your eyes are forced to work too hard.
- Neurological disorders including Tourette’s Syndrome
- Alcohol or Caffeine: Eye twitches can be triggered by too much alcohol or caffeine intake; to alleviate the eye spasms try reducing the amount of alcohol or caffeine consumed.
- Dry eyes: Having dry eyes can trigger eye twitching, treating dry eyes can help stop eye spasms.
- Nutritional Imbalances: Some people believe that lack of certain minerals and nutritional substances like the lack of magnesium can trigger eye twitches. If you experience eye twitching a nutritional deficiency might be the cause.
- Allergies: Eye allergies can cause itching, swelling and watery eyes. When irritated eyes are rubbed histamine is released into eyelid tissues and tears. Some evidence suggests that histamine can cause eye spasms. Try treating your allergies to alleviate eye spasms.
While the main cause for eye twitching is the abnormal functioning of the basal ganglion, it is also possible that eye twitching is hereditary. If you experience occasional eye twitching than chances are someone else in your family has also experienced eye twitching.
Eye Twitching Treatments
If you only suffer from the occasional eye twitch or spasm you probably won’t require any treatment. While there is no cure for eye twitching in general there treating the underlying cause of the twitching may alleviate further spasms. If for example your eye twitching is the result of an underlying cause like stress or anxiety in order to get rid of the eye twitching it is best you speak with your regular physician to decide how to treat or manage the stress.
In some cases of chronic eye twitching, drug therapy may be considered as a treatment option. While drug therapy is not always successful and is considered unpredictable researchers are always working on new eye twitching treatment methods. Injecting Botox into the eyelid muscles is also an approved treatment in the US and Canada to paralyze the eyelid muscles. In extreme instances a surgical procedure called Myectomy is used to remove some of the eyelid muscles and nerves and has been proven effective in 75%-85% of people.
If you are experiencing the annoyance of eye twitching than Contact Family Vision Center to schedule an eye exam. Your eye care provider can help determine the cause of your eye spasms and determine a treatment that suits you.