Causes and Relief for an Eyelid Twitch

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Have you ever had an episode where one of your eyes has been twitching uncontrollably for a few days? An eye twitch, while annoying, is usually nothing serious.

A twitching eye is a creepy sensation, as you can feel your eyelid moving uncontrollably. But what often feels like a huge movement to you, usually can't even be detected by your friends. Find out what can cause this and how you can make it stop.

Eye twitch common causes
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Eye twitching, or myokymia, is an involuntary eyelid muscle contraction that usually affects the lower eyelid. The exact cause of eye twitching is unknown.

A twitch sometimes develops during times of increased stress. Eye twitching has also been associated with high caffeine intake, fatigue, or excessive squinting. It can also occur after reading or working on a computer for prolonged periods of time.

Eye twitching is usually a sign that you need to take a break and relax. Have you been under unusual stress lately? Have you had a few sleepless nights? Sometimes a twitch will go away following a good night's sleep, but a stubborn twitch may last as long as a few weeks.

Here are several common eye twitch triggers:

  • Caffeine or certain medications
  • Fatigue due to lack of restful sleep
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Smoking or alcohol consumption
  • Eye strain caused by computer use, reading, television, or bright lights
  • Dry eyes
  • Allergies

Eyelid twitches sometimes occur along with an eye infection or an inflammation of the eyelids called blepharitis.

Types of Eye Twitches

An eye twitch can be classified into three types.

  • Minor eyelid twitch: Most of the time an eyelid twitch is minor and goes away on its own, usually within a few days. Minor eye twitching is usually related to stress or fatigue.
  • Benign essential blepharospasm: Blepharospasm is abnormal blinking or eyelid twitching resulting from dry eyes, Tourette's syndrome, and other conditions. The term "benign" is used to indicate that the condition is not life-threatening, and "essential" means that the cause is unknown.
  • Hemifacial spasm: A more violent eye twitching that sometimes involves an entire side of the face is called hemifacial spasm. A hemifacial spasm can become a much more severe twitch. This type of twitching may affect speaking and eating.

A hemifacial spasm is usually caused by inflamed facial nerves, but it may result from a more serious neurological problem. This type of spasm is often treated with muscle-relaxing injections or medications.

Twitching in Both Eyes

If the eye twitching involves both eyes, there is a possibility that you have blepharospasm. This is a chronic condition that is most common in women over 50. Blepharospasm can progress into the repeated forceful closing of the eyes.

Like most eye twitches, there is no definite cause, but it may be worsened by stress, bright lights, watching too much TV, and fatigue.

If both eyes are twitching, it may be a good idea to consult your eye doctor for advice. This condition can be treated with botulinum toxin injections to relax the muscles and stop the spasms.

Self-Care and Treatment

The usual suggestions for a twitch not due to an eye infection are to cut back on caffeine, reduce your stress, and get some rest. But a stubborn eye twitch can become extremely annoying rather quickly.

To relieve eye twitching, try applying warm compresses to the twitching eye and gently massaging the eyelid with your fingers. A warm compress can simply be a clean washcloth dampened with warm water (do not use cold water). Lay your head back and apply the warm cloth directly to your closed eyelid.​

For eyelid twitches that last longer than two or three days, over-the-counter oral or topical (eye drop) antihistamines may offer some relief. Although not a direct myokymia treatment, antihistamines slow down the muscle contractions involved in twitching, making them much less annoying.

When to See the Eye Doctor

If you experience severe eye twitching or a twitch that lasts longer than a few days, see your eye doctor.

Treatment for severe eye twitching may include Botox injections to paralyze the eye muscles, other medications to relax the muscles, or surgery.

A Word From Verywell

Most eye twitches will go away on their own with a few days. Try to relax and eliminate stress in your daily life. Limit caffeine, get plenty of sleep and be sure to take frequent breaks from the computer.

6 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. Bender N. You asked: Why does my eyelid twitch at random times? Texas A&M University Health Science Center.

  2. Victoria State Government. Blepharospasm.

  3. Cleveland Clinic. Involuntary facial movements (hemifacial spasm): management and treatment.

  4. Lee JM, Baek JS, Choi HS, Kim SJ, Jang JW. Clinical features of benign essential blepharospasm in Korean patients. Korean J Ophthalmol. 2018;32(5):339-343. doi:10.3341/kjo.2018.0038

  5. Kellogg Eye Center, Michigan Medicine. Eyelid spasms (eye twitching or eye twitch).

  6. Duvall, B, Kershner, RM. Ophthalmic Medications and Pharmacology. West Deptford Township, NJ: SLACK Incorporated; 2006.

Additional Reading

By Troy Bedinghaus, OD
Troy L. Bedinghaus, OD, board-certified optometric physician, owns Lakewood Family Eye Care in Florida. He is an active member of the American Optometric Association.