Often thought of as being harmless, eyelid twitching happens every now and then, when there is an involuntary spasm of the muscles of the eyelids. It can happen both to the upper as well the lower eyelids. The twitching can last a few minutes, and feel like a gentle tug. Generally, these spasms are benign and resolve on their own. But, sometimes, they could be early warning signs of movement disorders. Here is everything you need to know.
What causes them?
For some people, the spasms are so strong, they force-shut both the eyelids. This strange condition is known as 'blepharospasm'. Needless to say, the twitches are unpredictable and could be caused by: fatigue, lack of sleep, an eye irritation, physical exertion, the side effects of a medication, stress, caffeine and/or alcohol consumption.
When these spasms become chronic in nature, they come with uncontrollable winking or blinking. Blepharospasm may be made worse by: inflammation of the eyelid, conjunctivitis, pollution, light sensitivity, stress, smoking, among others. With time, it could make things worse with blurry vision, increased sensitivity to light and facial spasms. So, get yourself checked immediately.
As mentioned earlier, the twitches may be warning signs of some brain and nerve disorders, including facial palsy, dystonia (unexpected muscle spasms), multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and/or Tourette syndrome.
When to visit the doctor?
If you think you have a chronic condition, make an appointment. Besides spams, if you also have the following accompanying symptoms, you must definitely see a doctor: red, swollen eyes with an unusual discharge, a drooping upper eyelid, if the twitching is affecting other parts of the face, and if it has been going on for weeks on end.
If you think you are guilty of having neglected your health earlier, try making amends. Get a lot of sleep, consume less caffeine, apply a warm compress when the spasm begins, among others.