A twitching eyelid – it has happened to everyone at some point. So why won’t that annoying, quivering eyelid stop moving? Keep reading for the answer!
What is an “eyelid twitch”?
The medical term is called myokymia, which literally translates to “muscle wave.” The eyelid contains muscles that can either hold the eye open or close it. When involuntary muscle contractions occur, it is felt as a “twitch.” Usually the lower lid is the most common culprit, however, the upper eyelid may be involved instead.
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.
Why does the eyelid twitch?
Top 5 Causes:
2. Lack of sleep
3. Too much caffeine
4. Too much alcohol
5. Dry eyes
Although it is very bothersome, a twitching eyelid is typically benign. Episodes can happen several times a day, lasting for a couple minutes and can continue intermittently for weeks. That stubborn twitch can switch back and forth between eyes or it might stay on the same side for the duration of its course.
If the twitching is persistent, it can make you feel more stressed or anxious worrying about it, which just perpetuates the cycle. It is usually easier said than done, but addressing the cause is the best way to alleviate the twitching lid.
Please, make it stop!
The first step is identifying the cause and working to avoid the trigger. Most of the time it spontaneously resolves, but you can also try these to speed up the process:
- Decrease stress
- Get more sleep
- Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption
- Minimize screen time on cell phone and computer
- 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!