Eye Twitching: What Does It Mean?

Family Eye Care - Hendersonville, TN

According to popular superstitions, eye twitching can mean someone is thinking about you, a special guest will come from afar, or that a happy event is on its way. However, for those of us who live more practical lives, eye twitching can be slight enough to be a simple annoyance or severe enough to be a worrisome symptom of a larger problem. Read on to learn more about what causes eye twitching and when this condition is a potential cause for concern.


What is Eye Twitching?

Scientifically, an eye twitch is called a “blepharospasm,” and this condition refers to a repetitive and uncontrollable spasm or continuous blinking of the eyelid. These twitches usually affect both eyes at once, and can occur anywhere from a few times a second to once every couple of minutes.


Causes of Eye Twitches

Some eye twitches are nothing to worry about and are easily combated. Fatigue, too much caffeine, or high stress levels are often the cause. If you’re not sleeping enough, working too hard, or drinking too much coffee and your eyelids are out of control, consider cutting back on the caffeine and taking a nap. These minor twitches are harmless and usually go away on their own.

Some eye twitches, however, are not so temporary and can be a far greater nuisance. If you are having frequent eye twitches that cause persistent winking, squinting, and vision impairment, it’s time to see a specialist. Severe eye twitches can signal anything from dry eyes or conjunctivitis to serious but rare conditions like multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.

Twitches can also be a side effect from certain medications, so it’s important to get checked out by a professional if your eye twitch is interfering with your day-to-day functioning. A doctor will help pinpoint the cause and might advise you to stop taking medications causing the problem while recommending alternatives.


Eye Twitch Emergencies

If your eyelid is twitching and is combined with symptoms like swollen or red eyes, drooping upper eyelids, or twitching in other areas of the face, or if the twitch does not go away after several weeks, you may need emergency medical treatment. While eye twitches are rarely serious enough to be considered emergencies, they could indicate a serious brain or nervous system injury or disorder.

If you have any concern about your eye twitch, make an appointment with an eye specialist to determine the cause. In the meantime, try a warm compress to your eye and over-the-counter eye drops to reduce irritation.