Myokymia is the scientific word for a repetitive, involuntary spasm in the eyelid. Everyone has experienced this at one point or another. It’s not painful and experts say that it usually isn’t associated with any disease.
The movements in the muscles around your eye tend to be very slight and eye twitches can pass without you noticing.
However, there are situations where eye twitching becomes pronounced and causes social embarrassment. In rare cases, it can come with a spasm that visibly impacts half of your face. If you have to deal with frequent or intense eyelid twitching, consider looking into treatments.
Let’s take a look at what causes eye twitching. Although there’s no definitive treatment, there are a few different ways you can remedy this problem.
Top Causes and Solutions
If you experienced a one-time twitch, chances are that it came from a misfired signal to the muscles of your eyelid. This kind of twitch comes from regular electrical activity in the brain. It’s not impacted by any external or internal factors.
But there are many other potential reasons for this kind of spasm. Here’s a brief overview.
1. Dry Eyes
The reason you get dry eyes is that your eyes aren’t producing enough tears. It can also be because your tears are of a poor quality. Dry eyes may come with light sensitivity, redness, burning, and a blurred vision. They also put you at a higher risk of eye infections.
The Reasons Behind Dry Eyes
If you’re experiencing dry eyes, you may be exposed to polluted air or other irritants. It can also be the result of reading or driving, as these activities may cause you to blink less often. But in some cases, dry eyes come from injury to the tear glands. It can also be the aftereffect of laser eye surgery.
The condition might be connected to medications you’re taking. If you suspect this is the case for you, consult with a doctor or a pharmacist. Associated diseases include diabetes, lupus, thyroid disorders, and various eyelid problems. In short, dry eyes can be a symptom of something serious going on.
The best solution to dry eyes is to get a comprehensive eye exam. Your ophthalmologist can help you decide how to treat this issue. Eyedrops and eye inserts are the right solutions for many people, but you may need to start taking drugs that can boost your tear production.
Experts have found that excessive caffeine consumption could lead to increased eyelid twitching.
Staying under 200 or 300 milligrams of caffeine a day is usually considered to be safe. However, everyone’s caffeine tolerance is different.
Cutting back on caffeine is a good way to preserve your general health. You should note that caffeine withdrawal has some serious side effects, and it can impact anyone who got used to consuming this substance regularly. Common withdrawal symptoms include headaches, mood swings, and fatigue. These symptoms usually peak 1-2 days after you quit.
Quitting cold turkey isn’t usually a good idea. Instead, you should cut back gradually and make sure to stay hydrated. In addition to avoiding caffeinated drinks, you should pay close attention to the medication you’re taking. For example, over-the-counter painkillers might be high in this ingredient.
If you’re not sure if caffeine is behind your myokymia, start a journal. Whenever you experience eyelid twitching, write down your experience. Then connect it with your caffeine consumption over the previous few hours.
3. Tobacco or Alcohol
Doctors have linked smoking to various eye-related conditions. It can lead to dry eyes and a few more health conditions that are connected to myokymia. Drinking to excess also leads to dry eyes and vision problems.
Once again, it can be a good idea to keep a journal and see whether these substances lead to twitching. Documenting your habits can be a great first step towards a smoke-free or alcohol-free life.
4. Stress and Fatigue
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, sleep and relaxation are the best ways to reduce myokymia. This usually means reducing your caffeine intake too.
Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to cut stress out of your life, but a few simple lifestyle changes could make a world of difference in your overall health. Light exercise or meditation could help you achieve a balanced and stress-free everyday routine.
If you’ve been sleeping poorly, there might be a serious underlying cause. Around 50-70 million US adults suffer from sleep disorders of various kinds. For many of them, this leads to myokymia, as well as other, more dangerous symptoms.
When you have a sleep disorder, you should start rethinking you sleeping habits. You need around seven hours of uninterrupted sleep in a cool and quiet environment. Avoid keeping your phone and other devices in the bedroom, and make sure that you have a high-quality pillow and mattress. If the problems persist after you’ve improved your sleep hygiene, you may need to use medication or a CPAP machine to achieve a good night’s sleep.
5. Infections and Other Medical Conditions
Blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelid. It can be caused by bacteria, but sometimes it’s the side-effect of taking medication. This condition typically comes with swelling and redness in addition to the myokymia.
If your eyelid keeps twitching, there’s also a chance that you’ve developed pinkeye. Pinkeye can come from viral, bacterial, or fungal infections. It might also be an allergic reaction to pollen or other irritants.
These are only two of the many medical conditions that could create spasms in your eyelid.
It’s crucial to get these diseases treated as soon as possible, as you may need to take antihistamines or antibiotics. An untreated eye infection can easily turn into a chronic condition. Taking your myokymia seriously is a good way to prevent serious complications.
6. Eye Twitching as a Side Effect
There’s also a chance that your eyelid twitching comes from your medications or your contact lenses. If you decide to get an eye exam, don’t forget to mention any medication that you’ve been taking.
A Final Word
There are many different remedies for eyelid twitching. Reducing fatigue is probably the most effective one. It’s generally enough to get more sleep and to avoid tobacco, coffee, and alcohol.
But there are some additional forms of treatment for particularly severe cases of myokymia. For instance, you may opt for taking botox injections. This is a temporary but extremely efficient solution to the problem.