Eye Twitching: Causes and Treatment

Eyelid twitching isn't always cause for concern

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If you have ever experienced an eyelid twitch, you know how annoying it can be. Eyelid twitching is an uncontrollable eyelid muscle contraction. It most commonly affects the lower eyelid.

Treatment for an eyelid twitch depends on how severe it is. If your twitch is mild, there are things you can try at home before going to the doctor.

This article discusses the symptoms, causes, and treatments for an eye twitch plus when you should get medical attention.

how to stop an eye twitch
Illustration by Brianna Gilmartin, Verywell

Symptoms

A minor eye twitch is an uncontrollable eyelid spasm that may come and go for a few days, then disappear on its own.

A severe eye twitch lasts much longer and usually does not go away. The eyelid may contract so forcefully that the entire eye completely opens and closes, over and over again.

A severe eye twitch becomes extremely annoying, interfering with daily life.

Causes

Sometimes, an eye twitch has a simple cause. However, it could be caused by something more serious that requires medical evaluation.

Minor Eyelid Twitch Causes

Minor eyelid twitches can have a variety of causes, including:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Caffeine
  • Some medications
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Fatigue
  • Allergies
  • Dry eye
  • Eyestrain
  • Poor nutrition
  • Vision problems (such as uncorrected refractive errors)

This kind of twitch is called eyelid myokymia. It happens only on one side and isn't caused by illness.

Serious Causes of Eyelid Twitching

More severe eye twitches are usually associated with:

  • Blepharospasm: Occurs when your brain can't properly control your eyelid muscles; Affects both eyes; Can become chronic and severe.
  • Hemifacial spasm: Neuromuscular disorder involving spasms on one side of your face.


Treatment

The first step in treating an eye twitch is to identify what is causing it. Determine the severity of the twitch: Is it minor or severe?

Treatment for Minor Eye Twitches

To treat minor eye twitches:

  • Try to eliminate stress in your daily life.
  • Limit caffeine.
  • Get plenty of sleep and take frequent breaks from the computer.
  • Apply warm compresses to the twitching eye and gently massage the eyelid with your fingers.
  • Try over-the-counter oral or topical (eye drop) antihistamines to slow eyelid muscle contractions.

Treatment for Severe Eye Twitches

Treatment for severe eye twitching may include:

  • Botox injections to paralyze the eye muscles
  • Medications to relax the muscles
  • Surgery to remove the contributing eye muscles

Your treatment will depend on not just the severity, but the specific cause.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

See your eye doctor if you have:

  • Eyelid twitching for more than a few weeks
  • Severe eye twitching
  • The twitch makes your eyes close all the way
  • Other muscles in your face begin twitching

A Word From Verywell

Most eyelid twitches are harmless and tend to go away on their own. Rarely, severe eyelid twitching may signal a more severe disorder. It is always best to seek the advice of an eye doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can myokymia be caused by allergies?

    Yes, myokymia (eyelid twitching) can be caused by allergies, or more specifically, ocular allergies (allergic conjunctivitis). Other symptoms may include redness, itching, and watery eyes.

  • What should I do if my eye is twitching for weeks?

    If your eye is twitching for multiple weeks, it's time to contact your healthcare provider. This is especially important if the twitching:

    • Makes your eye close
    • Affects other areas of your face
    • Makes your upper eyelid droop
    • Accompanies a discharge, redness, and swelling
  • Is eye twitching related to anxiety?

    It is possible for eye twitching to be related to anxiety. Most people experience a twitch in their eyes or legs, but it can happen anywhere on the body and often resolves itself in a day or two. Following a few specific steps may help ease the eyelid twitch.

    • Get enough sleep. Most people need seven to nine hours of rest every night.
    • Dedicate at least a small portion of your day to relaxing.
    • Engage in regular exercise.
    • Avoid excessive amounts of alcohol and caffeine.
    • If you suspect the medication you take is related to the eye twitch, ask your healthcare provider.
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8 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Ophthalmology. What is an eyelid spasm or twitching eyelid?

  2. Texas A&M University, VitalRecord News from Texas A&M Health. You asked: Why does my eyelid twitch at random times?

  3. American Optometric Association. Myokymia (eyelid twitch or tic).

  4. National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute. Blepharospasm.

  5. National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Hemifacial spasm.

  6. National Institutes of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Eyelid twitch.

  7. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). Eye (ocular) allergy.

  8. National Health Service (NHS). Twitching Eyes and Muscles.