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Eye Twitching

Posted on November 24, 2015

Eye twitching, eyelid tics, and spasms are pretty common. Eye twitching is a repetitive, uncontrollable blinking or spasm of the eyelid, usually the upper lid. Called myokymia in doctor lingo, these rippling muscle contractions in an eyelid can be triggered by stress, tiredness, eye strain, caffeine, alcohol, dry eyes, nutritional imbalances, and/or allergies.

The minor form of twitch is painless and harmless. It usually goes away on its own. But it can be quite annoying. Symptoms can recur for days, weeks, or even months. That can cause a lot of emotional distress and can interfere with quality of life.

Sometimes, eye twitching can be a sign of eye conditions such as Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids), dry eyes, light sensitivity or Pinkeye. Eye twitching can also be a side effect of certain medications. If your body does not have sufficient vitamins D, B12 and magnesium minerals, then you could suffer from twitching. Sometimes the cause of minor eyelid twitch cannot be identified. In almost all cases it is painless and harmless.

More serious forms of eyelid twitching are caused by neurological conditions such as blepharospasm or hemifacial spasm. These conditions are much less common and should be diagnosed and treated by an eye doctor. Very rarely, it can be a sign of a brain or nerve disorder, such as Bell’s palsy, Dystonia, Parkinson’s disease, or Tourette's syndrome.

There are three common types of eye twitch - minor eyelid twitch; benign essential blepharospasm; and, hemifacial spasm. Minor eyelid twitch also can be caused by irritation of the surface of the eye (cornea) or the membranes lining the eyelids (conjunctiva).

A number of different cultural superstitions are associated with myokymia including China, India, Africa, and Hawaii. The Hawaiian people have three superstitions on the involuntary behavior of eye twitching. The first is that left eye twitching is an indication that some stranger will arrive at your home. Another is that if someone twitches the left eye constantly then it is just a bad sign of looming death in the family. However, when someone twitches the right eye then a child is about to be born.

Even though an eye twitching superstition might be positive or the twitching fades within a short duration, in some cases it is necessary to see a doctor for the condition if:

  • Twitching on the right eye for more than three consecutive days;
  • Twitching on the right eye and your face as well;
  • If you discharge some fluids, some part is swollen or turns red during the time that you experience swelling; or,
  • If you twitch so much that that your eyelids end up closing.

To discuss your concerns or to schedule an eye exam with a Londonderry Eye Care optometrist in Edmonton, please call us at 780–476-7631 or fill out the online form.