Eye twitching is a condition in which the upper eyelids blink frequently and create an involuntary spasm. It is also called blepharospasm. There is an uneasy movement in the upper lid but, lower eyelids also flicker sometimes.
Eye twitching can be classified into three categories, each one associated with a different set of reasons. Myokymia is a type where only eyelid is affected, either the upper or the lower. It affects one eyelid at a time. The eye twitching lasts for a short time but, it may reoccur within a few hours. It is easily noticeable and can be bothersome if not treated correctly.
The next is Benign essential blepharospasm, in which the severe blinking of both the eyelids occurs. This condition can lead to squeezed shutting of the eyelids. This type of spasm in the eyelids is not common but, it may turn worse affecting other aspects of life adversely.
The last is the Hemifacial Spasm which involves spasm in the muscles on one side of the face including the eyelids.
What Causes Eye Twitching?
There are several factors responsible for triggering eye twitching from time to time. The general causes of eye twitching include:
- Eye irritation
- Excessive intake of alcohol
- Excessive caffeine intake
- Exposure to bright light
These are some common causes of the eye twitching. But they may progress from minor eye twitching to benign essential blepharospasm called as dystonia.
Other than this, there is Hemifacial Spasm. It irritates the facial nerve due to an artery.
Other conditions include:
- Glaucoma(damage to the optic nerve)
- Sensitivity to light
- Blepharitis (inflammation in the eyelids)
- Dryness in the eyes (decrease in the production of tears)
- Uveitis (inflammation in the middle layer of the eyes)
- Entropion (eyes turned inwards)
- Corneal abrasion (scratch) first aid
Eye twitching can also indicate specific brain and nervous system disorders when accompanied with these symptoms, including:
- Bell’s palsy (paralysis of the facial nerve that causes muscular weakness)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Tourette Syndrome
- Cervical dystonia
- Oromandibular dystonia and facial dystonia
Other medications and drugs which are used to treat epilepsy and psychosis can also result in chronic spasms. This can also result in the chronic movement disorder when accompanied with other facial spasms.
What Is The Treatment?
The minor twitching may go on its own but, in severe conditions, the treatment depends on the type and intensity of spasms. Dry eyes cause minor twitching. Artificial tears can cure this problem.
Botulinum toxin is most commonly used to treat hemifacial spasm where small amounts are injected into the eye muscles to ease the blinking that lasts for a few months. You may need to go for repeated treatment to cure it.
However, the doctors have not been successful in finding a proper cure for benign essential blepharospasm. There are some treatments to reduce the severity of the condition.
The general medications are used for curing minor cases to help relieve it for a short time. These include:
- Trihexyphenidyl hydrochloride (Artane, Trihexane, Tritane)
Apart from the above mentioned, there are other treatments used alternatively. These include-
- Nutrition Therapy
- Tinted Glasses
In case the above treatment does not work, then your doctor may recommend you surgery. The procedure is called myectomy. It involves the removal of some muscles and nerves around the eyelids.
Surgery may relieve the pressure of arteries exerted on the facial nerves, one of the reasons for hemifacial spasm.
How To Prevent This Condition From Getting Severe?
You can prevent these spasms from getting severe at an initial stage. There is no particular treatment to stop minor spasms but, there are some preventions that you can follow to lessen the impact.
- Cut down on caffeine
- Avoid drinking alcohol
- Stay away from the stress
- Take proper rest
- Take adequate sleep
- Try lubricating your eyes if you are suffering from dry eyes
- Apply a warm compress to stop sudden spasms from reoccurring
- Use the right type of eyewear
- Keep track of the nutrition intake
- Massage your eyes
- Go for regular eye check-ups
Incorporate these healthy habits to stop sudden eye twitching and lead a fit life by making such lifestyle choices.