It refers to involuntary twitching or muscular spasms in the eyelids. It makes a person blink in an uncontrolled way. The condition is also known by other names like
The condition is also known by several other names, such as:
As its name indicates, twitching of the ocular muscles is the main symptom of this condition. The eyelids may involuntarily open or close due to twitching. Spasms may persist for a day or even for weeks and months. Patients typically experience twitching in the lower rather than the upper eyelid.
Some of the other accompanying symptoms include sensitivity to light and blurred vision. Some patients may also experience persisting muscular spasms in the facial region.
Some of the main causes of Eyelid Twitching are:
Stress or anxiety experienced by a person can often give rise to twitching or muscular spasms in the eyelid.
Prolonged strain on the eyes caused due to staring at a TV or computer screen may also result in twitching. This can especially occur if the person is watching the screen from a close distance or ignoring an eye correction (through glasses) for a long time.
Intake of beverages, such as caffeine and alcohol, can also give rise to this problem.
Absence of essential nutrients in the diet may also be a major cause of this syndrome.
Allergies or infection of the eye can also lead to this symptom as well as other difficulties, such as ocular inflammation, redness and teary discharge from the eyes. The eyes may twitch severely and even close completely due to any type of irritation in the eye structures, such as the Cornea (the surface of the eye) or the Conjunctiva (membranes lining the eyelids).
Over 50% of the older population suffers from dry eyes due to ageing. It is also quite common in individuals who use computers, wear contact lenses or use medicines like antidepressants or antihistamines. Dry eyes can be a major cause of twitching in the eyelids.
Involuntary eyelid blinking may also occur as a side effect of certain brain stimulants like Adderall, Dexedrine and Ritalin. These are actually used as medications to boost concentration in children with ADHD. These drugs stimulate some regions of the brain that change the way the electrical impulses are transmitted through the nerves. This can ultimately result in uncontrolled movements of the upper and lower eyelids.
Bright light often aggravates the spasmodic activity of eyelids. Individuals who are highly sensitive to bright light may suffer from contraction of muscles in the upper eyelid. Repeated contraction can give rise to eyelid spasms. Naturally, people who are hypersensitive to bright light are advised to stay away from it.
Spasms in the eyelid may also be associated to neurological conditions, such as:
This is a degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system (CNS). It is marked by impaired muscular coordination and tremors.
It is another condition of the central nervous system that is characterized by convulsions and loss of consciousness.
It is a neurological disease that gives rise to tics, facial grimaces, upper body movements, shouts, grunts and Coprolalia.
The condition is usually diagnosed by medical care providers if the symptoms become discomforting enough. If the spasms get more severe and lead to the closing of the eyes, medical conditions such as irritation of the conjunctiva or of the cornea can be the underlying problem. Patients describe this type of eyelid twitches as very uncomfortable and it also tends to persist much longer.
The diagnosis of this condition is mainly based on the neurological examination of the patient and considering his or her medical history. Sufferers are also asked about any other symptoms that they might be experiencing. This can help physicians differentiate the disease from any other similar condition.
The differential diagnosis of this disorder involves ruling out other conditions that resemble this syndrome, such as:
In most cases, twitching of the eyelids is not regarded as a condition serious enough to need medical attention. However, patients should seek medical opinion if they find a worsening of the symptoms. If the spasms persist even after a week or if they cause complete closure of the eyes, an ophthalmologist should be consulted. Consultation is also necessary if twitching involves other areas of the face as well. People who experience inflammation, discharge or redness around the eye should visit an ocular specialist.
The treatment of this condition actually depends on the underlying problem. Doctors usually cure this syndrome with the help of home remedies and lifestyle modifications. If sleep and other remedies fail to bring about an improvement, doctors can inject Botox (Botulinum toxin) to provide patients with temporary relief from the spasms. Injections are especially useful for curing eye twitches arising due to chronic conditions like Blepharospasm or Hemifacial Spasm.
Lubricating the eyes with eye drops can also provide short-term relief from twitching. If twitches result from stress, healthcare providers may administer drugs to provide relief.
If eyelid spasms occur due to improper contact lenses, patients can go for a lens correction. People with dry eyes can use bifocal contact lenses that are built of material appropriate for them.
In extreme cases of eye spasms, doctors may prescribe eye drops or certain oral medications. If twitches are chronic and refuse to resolve despite treatment, a surgery known as Myectomy (involving excision of a muscle) may be conducted as a cure.
Some of the best home remedies for this condition are:
Bananas are a rich source of essential minerals like potassium and zinc. These help boost the immune system and are effective in curing eyelid spasms.
Vegetables like cucumber or potato have a soothing effect for the eyes. Slice any of these vegetables and place a section on each of the eyes to provide them with a relaxing sensation.
Pour a small amount of rose water into a dish and soak a cotton pad into it. Wring the pad to shake off excess water and place it over the eyes to get a cool sensation.
Splash clean, cold water into your eyes and face every now and then. This will make you fresh as well as help your eyes get relief from strain caused by prolonged staring.
The outcome of this problem depends on the underlying cause or the particular type of the condition. In some cases, the condition generally stops after a week.
The condition dues not usually involve any complications. In rare cases, however, an unrecognized trauma to the cornea may cause permanent eye injury. Eyelid Twitching that persists for a long duration needs to be treated at the earliest to avoid the onset of severe complications.
Here are some general preventive measures that you should use to avoid further complications of Eyelid Twitching or getting this disease altogether.
Sleeping for a longer period can help provide your eyes with enough rest. This will reduce strain on your eyes.
Spending less time before the television or computer screen can also alleviate eye strain and prevent muscular twitching.
Open and close your eyes slowly and rub your eyes in clockwise and anti-clockwise motion at a slow pace. These exercises are useful in providing relief to eyes that are straining due to overuse. Focusing on a distant object can also help.
You should also restrict or completely avoid intake of beverages like tea, coffee or alcohol. This can help prevent the development of this eye condition or at least avoid aggravating of the symptoms.
Soak two small cotton pads into a bowl containing warm water. Wring the pads to get rid of the excess water and place them over the strained eyes. This will allow the heat to seep through the eyes and provide a relaxing sensation. Warm compress is often found to be highly effective in curing twitches, even though temporarily.
Consume high amounts of foods that are rich in vitamins, potassium and b-complex. These are essential nutrients that help cure eyelid twitches. A balanced diet with plenty of carbohydrates, vitamins, fats and proteins is important for health. Increasing potassium intake is particularly effective in curing twitching sensations and dry eyes.
The upper eyelid muscles are controlled by a collection of nerves that receive and transmit signals from the brain. Muscular movement takes place once the brain sends electrical signals to a particular destination through the nerve. Repeated uncontrolled contraction of the muscles of the lower or upper eyelid leads to twitching. Eyelid twitching is regarded as an ‘involuntary motion as the brain does not regulate it. Upper eyelid spasms are mainly caused due to interferences in the brain’s electrical activities. This can occur due to diverse factors, such as:
The problem may also result from an upper eyelid swelling. Inflammation of the upper eyelid can occur due to a blocked oil gland or a bacterial infection. The inflammation is exhibited as a type of small bump over the eyelid. It is frequently accompanied by uncontrolled spasms. According to a Chinese superstition, a twitch in the upper eyelid in women signifies financial loss.
In some cases, twitches are also accompanied by drooping of the upper eyelids.
This usually occurs due to lack of enough sleep. The best way to cure this problem is by taking adequate sleep. Patients of this condition need to take over 6 hours of sleep to get rid of twitches in the lower eyelids. While minor spasms in the lower eyelid or both eyelids are harmless, persisting ones need to be treated like any other muscular spasm. The affected muscles need to be relaxed and given proper rest. Long hours of sleep help relax the eye muscles. It also provides them with the much needed rest.
As per a Chinese superstition, twitches in the lower right eyelid are indicative of an impending good fortune.
A twitching in the right eye may persist from only a few seconds to even one or two days. In some cases, it can also last for over two days. If this happens, it may become a cause of concern and require medical intervention. There are various popular superstitions related with this syndrome. The Chinese believe that twitches in the right eye of men indicate good fortune or windfall while that in women suggests bad luck coming on the way. Nigerians and Indians also have similar superstitions.
Left Eyelid Twitching may result from various causes, such as
The treatment aims at finding out the exact cause of the twitches. If any of these factors are found to lead to the problem, stopping that cause may help treat the condition. Much like twitches in the right eyelids, those in the left eyelids are also associated to various superstitions. In China, a twitching left eye in women is believed to lead to good luck. Indians and Nigerians also harbor similar beliefs.
If you are suffering from persistent eyelid twitching for several days, along with inflammation or redness, immediately get in touch with a professional medical care provider. This will help you get rid of the condition faster and prevent any more discomforts or complications in future.
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