Eye health,Ophthalmology houston

Woman Thinking

Why do my eyes twitch?

Have you ever felt like your bottom eyelid is having spasms?  Do you feel like everyone can see it happening if they look at you?

Myokymia is the medical term for what we call “eye twitching”.

The muscle that closes the eyelids is called the orbicularis oculi.  It is a very important muscle that is connected to a very sensitive set of nerves.

When we say our eyes twitch, we usually refer to this eyelid muscle twitching, although the muscles that physically move the eyeball can also twitch.

These muscle contractions (which many describe as “rippling”) usually happen with the lower eyelid of one eye, but twitching can also be felt in the upper eyelid.

What causes this?

The most common cause of eye twitching or spasm is dryness or irritation. However, we have also seen that stress, fatigue, caffeine, alcohol, allergies, nutritional imbalances and lack of sleep can cause twitching as well.

Essentially, the blink reflex gets temporarily short circuited by either of these causes.

There are, however, more dangerous causes of eye twitching, most of which involve compression of the nerves that innervate the face.  Common eye twitching is usually unrelated to these conditions which may affect the eyelid (i.e. blepharospasm or hemifacial spasm).  These neurological conditions are much less common and should be diagnosed and treated by an eye doctor.

Lastly, some people simply have tics or repetitive behaviors, such as those from Tourette Syndrome.

How long until this goes away?

Most of these twitches will come and go, however, we have seen that sometimes the twitching can last for weeks or some have mentioned it has lasted for months.

What should I do?

We recommend seeing an eye doctor to evaluate if you have eye twitching.

The questions your doctor will ask you are:

  • Do both of your eyes twitch, or just one?
  • Does your mouth or lower face ever twitch with your eye(s)?
  • Do you drink a lot of water?
  • Do you get enough sleep?
  • Do you drink a lot of coffee, soda or other forms of caffeine?

Call us today at 713-626-5544 if you are noticing significant twitching and would like to have one of our eye doctors take a look!