Almost everyone has experienced the strange sensation of an eyelid twitch, which can feel like a shutter or a shiver in the eye. Though odd, this sensation is not often indicative of a major health or vision problem if it is only felt occasionally. There are, however, some underlying causes of eye twitching that can compromise your health over time, so it’s important to recognize what causes involuntary spasms in the eyelids and how to address these issues. If you feel your eye twitching often or for a prolonged period of time, you should see an ophthalmologist to explore the possibility of conditions like blepharospasm, dystonia, or hemifacial spasm. Because these conditions are very rare, it is more likely that annoying eye twitches are related to one or more of the following causes:
Too much caffeine
Caffeine may be a fixture in your daily routine in the form of coffee, tea, or energy drinks, but overconsuming caffeine can lead to a multitude of problems. Poor sleep is a common issue, along with jitteriness and eye spasms. Taking a break from caffeine can help to relieve eye twitching and improve your overall health by improving your nightly sleep.
Heavy eye strain
For many of us, screen time is an inevitability with so many careers relying on computer and smartphone use throughout the day. Constantly staring at these devices can lead to eye strain, which might cause headaches, eye twitching, and fatigue. To combat eye strain when you cannot get away from your devices, follow the 20-20-20 rule: For every 20 minutes that you are looking at a computer, take a break for 20 seconds and focus on an object at least 20 feet away.
When allergies cause eye irritation, there are many uncomfortable side effects that can occur. Watery, itchy eyes are common among allergy sufferers, who might have a habit of rubbing their eyes without a second thought. This, however, is a bad habit to sustain for itchy eye relief, since rubbing the eyes will only cause further irritation, which may manifest eye twitching.
Similar to allergy eyes, dry eyes can be a significant source of irritation in many forms. Older adults commonly experience dry eyes as a result of the aging process or use of certain medications. Contact lens wearers may also experience frequently dry eyes, particularly while wearing hard contact lenses, which are less permeable and more likely to trap irritants against the cornea. Wearing your glasses more often or considering alternative vision correction treatments like LASIK might be a solution for twitching eyes if contacts are the cause. Otherwise, over-the-counter eye drops may provide some temporary relief, though prescription eye drops are often needed for chronic dry eye sufferers.
Because stress is such a detriment to your health, it likely comes as no surprise that stress can also be the culprit behind your eye twitching. If you find that eyelid spasms tend to occur in moments when you feel particularly stressed, you might explore some healthy stress management techniques to keep involuntary reactions in check.
When you are faced with medical mysteries like eye twitches and muscle spasms, the medical providers of MeMD are available to help you. Through online consultations, our healthcare team can assess your symptoms, prescribe medications, and recommend follow-up care to ensure your ongoing wellness.