What Causes Eye Twitches, and How Can They be Stopped?

Megan Danielle 

Question: Is eye-twitching a dangerous or serious condition? It’s annoying—is there a remedy?

Answer: Twitching eyes are also known as eye spasms or a blinking disorder. The technical name is blepharospasm. It is not usually a serious problem worth stressing over, but it can be annoying. In most eye-twitching cases, the spasms will stop on their own eventually. This is because the causes are not permanent and include fatigue, stress, eye strain, prolonged staring, and caffeine. By knowing these causes for eye twitches, you can make changes in your life to get more sleep, relax, give your eyes a break, and cut back on the caffeine. In more prominent cases, you may choose to use eye drops, warm soaks, or have your vision deficiencies corrected.

Causes Eye TwitchesMost people develop a twitching eye spontaneously, though in some cases, the symptoms of dry eye will precede the twitching. Many cases include twitching that is simply an irritant, but some people suffer from muscle spasms that are so severe, they close the eyelid completely. Irritation in and around the eye may cause such severe cases. The reason for mild eye-twitching is a malfunction of the basal ganglion. This is a part of your brain that is responsible for muscle control. These benign twitches also most commonly affect the thumb and calf. In addition, some people believe that eye twitches are genetic.

If you experience a twitching eye for more than a week, suffer from twitches that close your eye completely, or those that affect other parts of your face, you should see a doctor about your condition. Other severe symptoms that point to a more serious problem include a drooping upper eyelid, swelling, redness, or discharge from the eye. In cases like this that are much more serious, treatments are available, though there is currently no permanent cure for eye-twitching. Still, treatments that can decrease the severity can be very beneficial.

One such treatment is a Botox injection. This is an approved treatment for eye twitches in the United States. The Botox will paralyze the muscles of the eyelids. Oral medication is also available, but recorded results have been unpredictable. Relief from the symptoms of eye-twitching is only short-term in most cases, and help is only achieved in about 15% of cases. There are homeopathic treatment options as well, such as chiropractics, acupuncture, biofeedback, hypnosis, and nutritional therapy. There is no proof that any of these produce consistent or lasting results in treating eye twitches.

In rare situations, surgery may be suggested by your doctor. If your twitching eye is interfering with your vision, this will most likely be the recommendation. A procedure called myectomy will be performed to remove some of the nerves and muscles of the eyelids. About 75% to 85% of people who have the procedure performed see an improvement in their twitching eye symptoms.