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BOD-ities: Why is my eye twitching?

Riddle Hospital January 4, 2019 By Michael A. Negrey, MD

Eye twitching is one of those body quirks that everyone has dealt with at some time or another. While these little movements are hardly noticeable to anyone else, it can leave you irritated and wondering what’s causing these spasms.

There are several reasons you might be experiencing eye twitching (myokymia). Stress and fatigue are two common causes, but it may also be prompted by:

  • Your diet, particularly excess alcohol and caffeine
  • Bright lighting
  • Eye strain when using digital devices
  • An irritation of the eye or inner eyelids
  • Allergies
  • Smoking
  • Weather, particularly windy days
  • Side effects of medication

A confluence of these factors, of course, only increases your risk for a temporary eye twitch. So, if you’re feeling stressed during a busy time at work and coping with lots of coffee or an extra drink at night, eye spasms might be more frequent.

Eye twitching remedies

Factors like allergies, medication or a piece of dust or an eyelash that gets in or near your eye are out of your control. You can, however, try these eye twitching remedies: Make sure you’re getting adequate rest, and look for healthy ways to manage your stress. Keep an eye on your caffeine intake, too. Too much soda or java can worsen or cause more frequent eye twitching.

If you’re wondering how to stop eye twitching when it starts, look no further than your linen cabinet. Wet a towel with warm water and hold it to the affected eye, lightly massaging the area. A warm compress works, too.

For most people, eye twitching only occurs every once in a while. But if you notice that it’s happening frequently or for long periods of time, Botox injections can help. Your ophthalmologist can talk to you about whether these injections would be right for you.

In almost all cases, eye twitching isn’t cause for concern. But if you notice that these spasms continue even after taking preventive measures, or they are accompanied by discharge, eye redness or swelling or other face or body tremors, talk to your doctor about these symptoms.

Main Line Health serves patients at hospitals and health centers throughout the western suburbs of Philadelphia. To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.