An introduction to eye twitches
Most of us will have experienced the peculiar sensation of a twitching eye at some point in our lives. It usually only lasts a moment or two, but in some cases can be a recurring, chronic problem.
We often think that other people must be able to see the twitch as it usually feels so strong in our own eye; but in all likelihood it is unnoticeable to those around us. Occasionally, however, the spasm causing the twitch can be strong enough to cause the whole eye to close.
Usually twitching eyes are caused by stress or fatigue, but in some cases it can indicate a more serious condition such as Blepharospasm (eye Dystonia).
What are the causes of twitching eyes?
An eye twitch is caused by a muscle spasm around the eye. The most common causes of this are:
What is Blepharospasm?
Blepharospasm is another name for eye dystonia. This is a condition which causes painful muscle spasms and twitches around the eye. It is thought that this is caused by problems in the nervous system which mean that messages do not reach these muscles correctly and so it is classed as a neurological movement disorder.
Other symptoms include excessive blinking and spasms that cause your eyelids to close involuntarily.
Dystonia can affect many different parts of the body, including the hands, feet and jaw. Head to the Dystonia Society website for more information.
What can I do about a twitching eye?
The solution to your twitching eye really depends on the cause. The thing about this kind of condition is that you often won’t know the cause until you pick a solution and try it to see if it works. Really think about your diet and lifestyle and keep track of when your twitches occur to give you a better idea of what might be causing them and how you can stop them. For example:
- If you think your eye twitch is caused by caffeine, alcohol or smoking, cut these things out of your lifestyle
- If your eye twitch could be caused by lack of sleep, try going to bed earlier, or using our sleep hygiene tips to get a better quality sleep
- For a twitching eye that is caused by stress, use some stress management techniques to help you cope better and reduce the impact of stressors in your environment. Stress herbs can be helpful, or relaxing exercise like yoga
- If your twitching eye is caused by dryness, then we have lots of information on treating dry eyes on the dry eye page, from diet and lifestyle to herbal and conventional treatment. We also have information on tired eyes and eye strain if these are the problem
- There are a number of treatments you can try that will treat a range of causes, such as acupuncture, massage therapy, yoga or psychotherapy.
Are there any herbal remedies that might help?
If your eye twitch is caused by a condition such as dry eyes, tired eyes or irritated eyes, you may find the herb Euphrasia useful. This herb has been used since the 14th century to treat a variety of eye problems, earning its alternative name ‘Eyebright’.
We recommend using it in eye drop form, such as the A.Vogel Eye Drops which contain an extract of fresh Euphrasia. These drops will soothe dry, irritated or tired eyes, and there is also evidence to suggest that Euphrasia can help treat blepharitis and conjunctivitis, so if your twitch is caused by any of these conditions you may find Euphrasia drops helpful. You can use these drops while wearing contact lenses, and they are free from preservatives because the sepcially designed bottle keeps them sterile.
You may also wish to try our Vision Complex. This complex contains lutein and zinc, which are both vital for promoting general eye health and healthy vision. This can help to reduce eye strain and tension in the muscles around the eyes.
There are not a huge amount of conventional treatments available for a twitching eye but again, the choice available depends on the cause of the condition.
For twitching eyes caused by blepharospasm, a botox injection can ease symptoms for a few months. The effectiveness of this will wear off until another injection is administered.
In some cases, surgery to remove some of the nerves and muscles in the eyelid may help with a twitch caused by blepharospasm.