Facts about a Twitching Eye Muscle

Having a twitching eye muscle is not only annoying to the person feeling it, but it is disconcerting to think that everyone else is noticing it as well.  Generally, this condition is no cause for alarm but knowing some of the causes may help to avoid the next bothersome occurrence.

Muscles are present in every area of the body, even in the thin skin that surrounds the eyes. When stressed or overworked, muscles may react by twitching.  The involuntary spasms occur from time to time and may last for just a few minutes or could continue for a few days.  When the muscles around the eye are affected, the condition is called “bletharospasm”, meaning simply spasm of the eyelid.  The upper eyelid and the lower eyelid are both capable of experiencing these spasms.  In most cases, the muscular contractions are simply reactions to external or internal sources.   

In everyday life, our eyes are continually at work.  Watching television, people watching, watching the road as we drive, playing video games or staring at the screen of a computer; these are all activities that may overwork our eyes.  While these external sources of eye “strain” have become normal parts of our lives, they can be overwhelming and create spasms of the muscles around the eye.  Fortunately, easing the muscle contractions is as simple as spending less time on the activity that is at the root of the problem.  Taking short breaks from sitting in front of the television or the computer can help the eye muscles to relax, and alleviate the twitching eye muscle.

Sometimes it isn’t an external source that is causing the problem, but rather something that is felt.  Psychological and physiological factors can produce involuntary muscle movements including twitches in the eyes.  Stress that is experienced through work or through home life yet not dealt with is a common reason that muscles spasms occur.  This includes not only mental stress but physical stress as well.  Anxiety or worry that is unresolved will be exhibited in some way over time, and eye twitching is one way that it will show.  The stress or anxiety may be affecting sleep patterns, which can exacerbate the problem.  Lack of sleep is a common cause of eye twitching. 

In some individuals, however, the twitching may be an indication of a more serious neurological condition.  Tourette’s Syndrome and hemifacial spasms can be diagnosed by a medical professional.  A doctor should be consulted if the twitching occurs continually for a 7 day period or longer, if vision is impaired, if pain in the eye if experienced, if any swelling or discharge accompanies the twitching or if the twitching extends to include other parts of the face as well. 

Occasional twitching eye muscle occurrences can be easily treated through preventative therapy, as prevention is always the best course of action when possible.  It will be necessary to identify the cause in order to effectively treat the condition through prevention.  If the twitching continually plagues you off and on, there are medications that can be prescribed that will relax the muscles and stop the contractions.  Botox is one such medication that is approved for temporary cessation of the eye muscle contractions. For the most severe of cases, surgery may be considered.  One procedure is to remove both the nerves and the muscles around the eyes.  Surgery such as this is a last resort when other treatments prove to be ineffective.  

Feeling your eyelid twitch uncontrollably can be a frustrating and annoying situation.  In addition, it is not a condition you want others to witness, which makes getting through the day difficult.  Fortunately, it is rarely a cause for concern, and with care future occurrences can be avoided.