What Does It Mean When Your Eye Twitches?

Updated on May 14, 2017
anatomynotes profile image

Edmund has spent the last ten years working in clinical research. He has written many articles on human anatomy and physiology.

What does it mean when your eye twitches?
What does it mean when your eye twitches?

If you've ever had a twitchy eyelid then you probably know how annoying and embarrassing it can be. I once had an incident of twitching eyelid during an interview and another during a date. The twitching lasted several minutes—and on both occasions I did my best to ignore it.

An eyelid twitch is an involuntary spasm of the eyelid muscles occurring approximately every two seconds. It usually last for a couple of minutes before vanishing on its own. Severe cases however, can last several days or even weeks.

Is it the eyelid or the eyeball that's twitching?

It's the eyelid that's twitching, not the whole eyeball. In some cases, the twitching can be powerful enough to force the eye to shut completely, only allowing it to reopen between twitches.

The human eyelid is packed with fast twitch muscle fibers. When a health issue arises, these fast twitch muscle fibers will contract erratically, leading to continuous rippling movements of the eyelid. One of these movements is called an eyelid twitch.

Watch Ashley's left eye twitching

The fancy name ...

The medical term for this condition is "myokymia."

Poll

Have you ever had a twitchy eyelid?

See results

Superstitions

From a superstition standpoint, there is a lot of meaning behind a twitchy eyelid. It can be a good or a bad omen depending on which eye is involved, the person's culture and geographical location.

In India, the traditional belief is that a left eyelid twitch brings bad luck. In China, on the other hand, a left eyelid twitch is a portent of good fortune for men. For a Chinese woman, a right eyelid twitch is a sign that something good is about to happen, whereas a left eyelid twitch brings bad luck.

Now that you've had your dose of superstition for the day, let look at the scientific reasons behind twitchy eyelids. There are at least 10 things that can cause an eyelid to twitch.

Scientific Reasons and Remedies for Eye Twitching

1. Stress

Stress increases your chances of getting a twitchy eyelid. Consider taking a yoga class, it might be just what you need to manage your stress. In addition, avoid stress as much as possible. Try to calm down and relax when it is time to do so.

Eyes do get tired
Eyes do get tired

2. Lack of Sleep

Sleep deprivation will make you grumpy and probably cause one or both of your eyelids to twitch. Make sure you get enough sleep to give your muscles the chance to relax. That should spare your eyelids some twitching.

3. Fatigue

Putting in too many hours at work can stress you out as well. This will not only affect your ability to function and interact with others, but can also give you frequent eyelid twitches. Give yourself a well deserved break whenever necessary.

4. Caffeine

Another reason to cut down on coffee
Another reason to cut down on coffee

Too much caffeine intake has been linked to eyelid twitch. Experts believe that stimulants in caffeine products can trigger the twitching. Consider reducing your daily intake if you think caffeine might be the cause of your eyelid twitching.

5. Eye Strain

Eye strain accompanied by eyelid twitching is a common problem for people who spend all day in front of a computer. If you have to use the computer all day, take frequent short breaks to rest your eyes.

Eye strain can also be due to underlying problems like long- and short-sightedness. Talk to your eye doctor if you constantly suffer from eye strain.

6. Dry Eye

A complete tear film consists of different essential components. An imbalance in one or more of these components causes dry eye and potentially twitchy eyelids. A tear film imbalance can be caused by a bacterial infection or a buildup of deposit inside the eye. If you think you've suffered prolonged dry eyes, it is worth telling your doctor.

7. Electrolyte Imbalance

Electrolytes are minerals that affect a lot of what goes on in the body, including muscle function of the eyelid. An electrolyte imbalance can cause persistent eyelid twitch. Fortunately, it can be easily fixed with a daily glass of an electrolyte drink or supplement.

8. Inturned Eyelash

An inturned eyelash comes with several uncomfortable symptoms including the involuntary twitching of the eyelid due to a foreign body sensation. An effective measure to relief the symptoms of an inturned eyelash is by using an adhesive tape; but leave this task to your GP.

9. New Eyeglasses

Many people experience eyelid twitching after a change in their eyeglass prescription. This happens during the time it takes for their eye muscles to adjust to the new glasses. The twitching usually subsides on its own. If the twitching doesn't stop on its own then there is probably something else going on -- get your GP to investigate.

10. Alcohol

A twitchy eyelid is probably the least severe of all the harmful effects of excessive alcohol consumption. If alcohol is the trigger to your eyelid twitch then cut down on your alcohol consumption for the sake of your eyes, and all the other organs.

Remedies for Eye Twitching

Don’t get too alarmed by your twitching eyelid. Most incidences are benign; usually not associated with any neurological problem. Calm down, relax and your eyelid will probably get back to normal on its own.

Common factors known to trigger this event include stress, tiredness, eye strain, excessive caffeine, dry eye and electrolyte imbalance. Rule out these factors one at a time if you have intermittent eyelid twitch. Talk about it with your doctor if the situation persists, to investigate the possibility of a more serious underlying cause.

If the twitching becomes more severe than you can withstand, there are medications that can be administered to treat the condition.

As strange as it may sound to many, Botox is an approved treatment for eyelid twitch. It is a well known treatment for muscle spasms.

How does Botox work in treating eyelid twitching?

The Botox injection paralyzes muscles of the targeted area and stops them from twitching.

Just like any other medication, Botox can have side effects such as inability to close the eyelids. Make sure you are well informed before you go down that road.

It takes skills to hit the target with a needle, make sure the guy standing above you is qualified to do the job.

Finally, find and eliminate the underlying cause of your eyelid twitch rather than exclusively relying on Botox to alleviate your eyelid twitching.

References

  • http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000756.htm
  • https://www.nei.nih.gov/health/blepha/blepharospasm

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 

      2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      I have had that experience but very rarely. Interesting....I might belong to the people who spend all day in front of a computer. Sometimes 8 hours!

    • Jasmeetk profile image

      Jasmeet Kaur 

      3 years ago from India

      found your hub useful... voted up!!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, healdove.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://healdove.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)