The Eyelid Twitch

Posted on June 6, 2011 · Posted in Eye Health

A common occurrence in our office is the patient who presents with concerns about a twitching eyelid.  Understandably, this can be a significant source of worry in a patient who has never experienced it before.

First, it’s important to note that eyelid twitching or spasms are pretty common and usually benign.  They tend to come and go during a period of time which generally lasts about a week, but could certainly be longer or shorter than that.  What can be done about these annoying twitches?  To answer that, we need to explore the usual triggers.

Stress:  Many patients will notice that their eyelid twitching occurs during a period of high emotional or psychological stress.  Perhaps easier said that done, reducing the stress can help reduce and/or eliminate the twitch.

Fatigue:  Long hours at work and a lack of sleep can make spasms more likely.  Despite the frequent requests, we cannot write a note to get you out of work in order to catch up on sleep :)  However, getting some additional rest can be a big help in reducing eyelid twitches.

Caffeine and Alcohol:  If your intake of caffeinated drinks (ie. soda, coffee, tea, etc.) and/or alcohol has increased, cutting back could make a difference.

Dry Eyes:  Dry Eye is a very common problem affecting millions of people.  Although more common as we age, dry eye can affect people who use computers, wear certain types of contact lenses, drink alcohol, or take specific types of medications (ie. antihistamines for allergies).  Lubricating the eyes with artificial tears can help.  Your eye doctor can offer more advanced options for the management of chronic dry eye.

Eyelid twitching usually disappears without medical intervention or treatment.  If any of the following are true, however, you should contact your eye doctor:

  • You have redness, pain, or swelling of the eye
  • Eyelid twitching is still present after 1 week
  • The entire eyelid closes
  • Other parts of the face are also twitching
  • Instead of a twitching eyelid, yours has started to droop.