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When is an eye twitch more than a simple eye twitch? For many people, an eye twitch is a minor annoyance that lasts no more than a minute or two, but for others, it is an aggravating condition that causes constant, daily stress. So, what is the difference between a simple, minor twitch and something more serious?

There are three widely recognized types of eye spasms that are often described as twitches: a basic eyelid twitch, essential blepharospasm, and hemifacial spasm. None of these conditions are life-threatening, but when they become a regular part of your daily existence, they may cause a great deal of stress, and both essential blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm can lead to more significant complications.

EYELID TWITCH

Eyelid TwitchMost of us are familiar with the basic eyelid twitch. It typically affects only one eye at a time, but on rare occasions may affect both eyes. An eyelid twitch poses no long-term risk of complications and usually resolves on its own within minutes, or at worst, after a few days. In fact, this type of spasm is so minor, there is typically no need for direct treatment. If you regularly suffer from eyelid spasm, you may find some relief in improving your sleep habits, reducing stress, and limiting your caffeine intake. If you find this spasm bothersome, a warm compress or lubricating eye drops may help alleviate any irritation.

ESSENTIAL BLEPHAROSPASM

Essential blepharospasm may start out feeling like an eyelid twitch, but it is actually a specific condition that can become progressively worse if left untreated. While an eyelid twitch usually involves one eye at a time, essential blepharospasm involves both eyes and begins with an increased rate of blinking. Eventually, the blinking increases both in rate and in magnitude to the point that it begins to close the eyelids, and the muscles of the eyes squeeze shut during blinking. On rare occasions, this squeezing shut can become so frequent and pronounced that it impedes vision.

Thankfully, essential blepharospasm can be treated. The most successful treatment option is typically botulinum toxin injections, which is commonly referred to as Botox. The injection is very small (less than the amount normally used in cosmetic procedures to treat wrinkles), and is injected into the spasming muscles around the eyes. The effects last for several months, but eventually wear off. Typically, the injections must be repeated between three and four times per year. Side effects are extremely rare, and typically include drooping eyelids or double vision, which resolve within a week or two. If the botulinum toxin therapy ceases to work, or if the spasms are too severe, surgery may be needed to remove the problematic muscles.

HEMIFACIAL SPASM

While eyelid twitching and essential blepharospasm are minor conditions, hemifacial spasm is significantly more serious as it includes neurological processes within the brain that cause involuntary closure of one eye as well as contraction of the muscles of the face and neck on the affected side. While botulinum toxin injections may help with hemifacial spasm symptoms, only a neurosurgical procedure is able to relieve the facial spasms. Such surgery is usually successful, but this is a significant operation that may have serious potential complications.

WHEN TO SEE YOUR DOCTOR

Your doctor at Silverstein Eye Centers is happy to see if you suffer from any eye twitching or other eye symptoms. However, you should definitely make an appointment with your eye doctor right away if you experience any of the following:

  • Eyelid twitching that lasts for more than one week
  • Twitching that causes your eyelid to close entirely
  • Twitching that involves muscles in other parts of the face or neck
  • Redness, swelling, or discharge from the eye
  • Upper eyelid drooping
  • Visual disturbances

To make an appointment with your Silverstein Eye Centers specialist, call us today at 816-358-3600. We look forward to helping you with any and all eye-related concerns.

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33 Responses to “HELP! MY EYELID WON’T STOP TWITCHING!”
  1. Christina Betts says:

    Can eyelid twitching be hereditary?

    • Hi Christina,

      Typically, eyelid twitching if caused by things like fatigue, caffeine consumption, stress or eyelid strain and is not considered a serious condition. However, in some cases, the spasms can become chronic, resulting in what’s called “benign essential blepharospasm,” another name for chronic and uncontrollable eyelid movement. It’s much more serious than the typical eyelid twitching most of us have experienced. The causes of benign essential blepharospasm are unknown, but the disorder likely results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. If you’re interested, you can read more about it on the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s website. If eyelid twitching is really bothering you, or if you’re concerned that it might be something more serious, please contact our office to make an appointment for an eye exam. We’re always happy to help.

  2. Amber says:

    My eyelid twitching is constant. I use to could feel it but now I no longer can. It is only in one eye. Is it something i need to get seen about? It has been going on for about 4 months.

    • Hi Amber,

      There are lots of reasons that could explain why your eyelid is twitching so much, but 4 months is certainly a long time to struggle with something so annoying. If you haven’t seen an eye doctor recently, please give us a call to schedule an appointment. You need a proper eye exam to determine the exact cause of your issue, and we’re always happy to help. Thanks for reaching out!

      – The Silverstein team

      • Caleb h says:

        My eye has had similar issues. My eye has been twitching in one eye for the past month. It won’t go away no matter what I do. I sleep perfectly and don’t stress. I consume a little caffeine through sodas but less than I normally do and it still continues. It happens about every 5 minutes

  3. M Shafi says:

    Two months back I was suffering from Bell’s Palsy which later treated completely but now My right eye’s eyelid twitchig since a week. is there any serious thing?? help me?

    • We are asked about eyelid twitching all the time – it’s a very common issue that, for most people, is more of a nuisance than anything else. However, given your past experience with Bell’s palsy, it might be best to schedule an eye exam. Please give us a call to schedule an appointment – we’ll be happy to take a look and determine the cause.

  4. Anna says:

    I have a twitch right below my waterline and it has been ongoing for about 4 weeks now. I’ve slept well and am not in much stress. I also am not a caffiene person, nor do I strain my eyes on the computer. What could this be and why won’t it go away.

  5. Mitch says:

    I’ve had twitching in all of my eyelids for almost a year now. I’ve had several shots of botox, and it works for a time, but it always comes back. Lately I’ve had twitching in my lips and in the bridge of my nose. Sometimes the twitching happens in other places too. Why is this happening? It’s not caffeine, it’s not alcohol, and it’s not lack of sleep.

    • Hi Mitch – thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately, our specialty is eyes … so, facial twitching is something your primary care physician would likely know a little more about. As for your eyes, it’s an involuntary muscle spasm that could be caused by any number of things, but thankfully, isn’t dangerous. If the botox is working for you, that’s probably your best option to keep it under control. In time, the botox should last longer after each injection as your muscles become accustomed to the treatment. Best of luck!

      • Mitch says:

        Just to give an update, I’m still suffering from eyelid twitching (over 2 years now). I’ve been getting Botox shots that are actually not working as well as they first did. I barely get a month out of it before one of my eyelids begins to twitch again. I’ve had MRI scans, checked electrolyte and vitamin levels, and tried many products like quinine and OCuSOFT lid scrub for blepharitis, but I have had no luck. The doctors are useless. I am open to trying other things, but I don’t want to keep spending my money for products that don’t work.

    • Stacy says:

      Please read my lower post.. I had eye twitches and off and on twitching in my face and it turned out to be skin mites that naturally live on everyone’s skin and eye lashes. I have rosacea so I think my face was an easier place for the skin mites to become over populated. My body just could not handle it.. and started twitching nonstop in my lower lid of one eye. I felt like I looked normal. My eyes felt kinda dry and were a little red now and then but no obvious sign that I had skin mite problem. Without help from any of my doctors I researched and found a easy product that I thought could not hurt. I had nothing to lose considering I was so depressed over my eye twitching that I felt like dying.. ordering a product online was a better choice and I am so glad I did. On a hunch I thought maybe my problem was demodex (skin mites) and found the product called Cliradex eyelid and face wipes. And, it was a miracle.. after first application my eye stopped. It felt relaxed and hydrated – I could not believe it! It is so worth trying. My husband uses them now too – his eyes were always dry and itchy. And, when one of my kids get an acne flare up.. it helps them too. I just want to share this information incase it may help you in anyway. Good luck!

  6. gabrielle says:

    hi im 14 (almost 15) years old. The top eyelid of my right eye has been twitching for four months now. I sleep 8 1/2 hours a day, drink no caffeine, got my eyes checked a year ago, and that i know of im not stressing over anything exept the twitching. it is EXTREMELY annoying, and i keep asking my mom to take me to the doctor but she says its nothing to worry about….im not so sure…ive tried everything i could find on the internet and i hasnt gone away so if you can help me with this i would be very thankful.

    • Hi Gabrielle,

      Thank you for posting your question. Eye twitching is very common, and is usually nothing to worry about. What you’re experiencing could be caused by any number of things … do you sleep on your right side? It could be as simple as the eye and muscle tissue on that side of your face being are being stretched in an odd way. We agree that it’s really annoying, but there’s not much to be done about it. It will eventually stop on it’s own, and unless you’re experiencing other symptoms (blurred vision, for example), there’s no need to worry. Take care!

  7. Stacy says:

    My eye lid just stopped twitching! I suffered with my lower eye lid twitching for over one year. It has been crippling. I lost time at work and opportunities and turned down many social opportunities. I was turning into a sad person with no confidence and no hope – my eye lid was so distracting I could hardly concentrate in public or when I was talking to someone all I could think about was my eye twitching. I was sinking into a deep depression. Many times I fantasized being dead. The pain was so terrible I can not explain it fully. I continually searched for medical help. My general doctor put me on some sort of antihistamine which helped me sleep and cope. I changed my diet to whole foods, no sugar, no caffein. My doctor told me to reduce my stress levels. I had a new job and felt a lot of stress and 2 kids in college so I was also dealing with financial stress. So, I started yoga, meditation and acupuncture and message therapy. Still my eye continued to twitch. I worked on my dental health replaced some fillings which was expensive so it added more stress. I saw a dermatologist and took antibiotics and 3 different eye doctors that only offered botox as a solution along with instructions for warm compresses at home. Today it seems my nightmare is over.. I ordered Cliradex (eyelid & face wipes) and OMG! First application and my eye lid stopped twitching. My eye felt relaxed and hydrated. I could not believe it. I always complained to my doctor that I felt like i had fuzz in my eye – but with each exam they saw nothing – they said my eyes looked dry and told me to use natural tear drops. Now, I think I was feeling eye lash mites (demodex) and it was so irritating that my eye couldn’t handled it. One application and in less than 3 minutes I had relief! My eye doctors looked at my eyes and did not see any sign of demodex.. but, i must of been was suffering from it.. along with rosacea which was a big clue doctors missed. I want to share my eye story so that doctors will think about me when they see a patient with my symptoms and maybe help save some one from suffering the way I did. The wipes are so easy and they are natural so the solution is so simple with no risk and very affordable compared to everything else I tried… Can’t believe I spent $1,800 on acupuncture trying to relax while I was suffering from skin mites in my eye. So grateful to the internet and sites like this one that helped me find Cliradex. Good look to everyone out there. I hope this information helps someone.

  8. Lynette says:

    I have a eye twitch that started about 2 weeks ago. Some days it is worse than others. No vision changes or headaches. It gets worse if i look down, however it stops when i close my eyes. Is this something I should worry about? I do spend a lot of time in front of the computer because I am an online student. I also wear glasses so I am wondering if it time for a new prescription.

    • Hi Lynette,

      No need to worry – eye twitching is very common and usually clears up on its own. If you’ve been experiencing the problem for a couple of weeks, you’re likely through the worst of it. Hang in there! It’s annoying, but harmless.

  9. Chris says:

    My son has eyelid twitching, sometimes one eye, sometimes both eyes for about a month now. He’s terrified he has ALS. how likely is this?

  10. Nicole says:

    I’m going into my 5th year of twitching. Sometimes it’s my upper eyelid, sometimes my lower. Sometimes it’s my lash line, sometimes it’s a flutter and other times it’s like a thumping. There are some times when it almost feels like it’s holding a spasm or something. Sometimes it twitches for a few seconds and then it’s done and other times it twitches all day. Sometimes it wakes me up out of my sleep probably because I’m hypersensitive to any movement at this point. I’ve been to the eye doctor twice, my primary care doctor who knows how many times, and even a neurologist. I’ve tried phenytoin and Botox and neither worked. People always think it’s minor and just a nuisance but try dealing with this and getting no help from anyone for years. It’s beyond frustrating. If there is anything you can think of to help, please do.

  11. Nia says:

    My eye been twitching since yesterday in today in my left eye in I’m starting to worrie what’s going on i slept for 1hr in couldn’t sleep nomore in i put eye drop in my eye doesn’t work warm towel washed my face still not working it’s getting really annoying people say it’s bad luck when ur left eye twitch how do you stop eye from twitching ?? ‍♀️

  12. Ashley says:

    Hello! my eye has been twitching for over a week now, and initially it was just the eye twitch, but now I have been getting headaches around my temple and around my eye sockets. I do use electronics/computer screens often for work and after work, but I have been getting plenty of sleep, and I don’t drink a lot of caffeine. I recently went to see my doctor and she believes my prescription for my glasses is old and it needs to be changed, but I recently got a new prescription done for sunglasses during the summer, and I’ve been wearing these instead of my usual glasses, and there’s been a slight improvement, but I’m still getting headaches and the twitching hasn’t stopped. Is my doctor right, or is there more to this issue?

    • Hi Ashley,

      It could be any number of things — eye strain, the wrong prescription, muscle strain, etc. You should definitely get a new prescription if your doctor recommends it — that will likely improve your headaches. As for the eye twitching, that’s extremely common (although annoying), and should clear up on it’s own.

  13. Nikki says:

    Can a hot stone massage, especially to neck area cause nerve damage and later eye twitching (both eyes now)

  14. Bailey says:

    The upper lid of my right eye has been twitching for a week now
    Pls I’m scared and I’m having exams . what should I do

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