Make the Twitching Stop!

May 2, 2023

Boy holding his hands over his face

Your eyelid is twitching and it keeps getting more and more annoying. What is going on?!

Boy holding his hands over his face

What is an “eyelid twitch”?

Myokymia is the medical term for a twitching eyelid, and it actually translates to “muscle wave.” There are muscles inside the eyelid that can either hold the eye open or close it. The electrical impulse that makes the muscle move causes an involuntary muscle contraction, which is felt as a “twitch.” Usually the lower eyelid is the most common culprit, however, the upper eyelid can be affected too.

Blepharospasm (“eyelid-spasm”) is a more forceful eyelid contraction that usually affects both eyes at the same time. This can be a more serious neurological condition, which is different from the harmless twitches that can come and go. If additional symptoms occur (double vision, asymmetric pupil sizes, or other facial spasms), it could be a sign of a more concerning problem that requires urgent medical attention.


What causes a twitching eyelid?Young woman sitting in front of computer

Top 5 Causes:
1. Stress
2. Lack of sleep
3. Excessive caffeine
4. Excessive alcohol
5. Dry eyes


Although it is very annoying, a twitching eyelid is typically benign. Some people experience episodes that occur several times a day for a few minutes and can continue intermittently for weeks. While it usually stays on the same side, it can switch back and forth between the eyes for the duration of its course.

Worrying or stressing about persistent twitching just perpetuates the cycle. If a possible trigger is identified, it is best to address the cause.


What is the treatment for a twitching eyelid?

The first step is determining the cause and working to change or avoid it. Most of the time it spontaneously resolves, but you can speed up the process by trying these tips:

1. Decrease stress
2. Get more sleep
3. Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption
4. Minimize screen time on cell phone and computer
5. Use artificial tears to lessen symptoms of dry eyes

There are anecdotal claims that the quinine in tonic water acts as a muscle relaxant, and can therefore alleviate muscle spasms of the eyelid. There is no scientific evidence supporting this “home-remedy” and tonic is not the tastiest beverage, but some people swear by it. If you have suffered from the annoying twitch for weeks and will try anything, head to the grocery store to get some tonic water.