The weird sensation of non-stop flickering eyelid is one of the most annoying events that you can ever come across in your life. Though it stops bothering you soon enough at most times, at times it can continue for a long time. Here are some quick facts about it and what you can do to stop it.
What triggers eye twitching?
Eye twitching (or myokymia, as it is called in medical speak) is an uncontrolled, impulsive and continuous contraction of muscles surrounding the eye and eyelids. It commonly affects the lower eye lid. The reason why it starts suddenly and affects young, healthy individuals is not known. But, there are several triggers that have been identified to initiate eye twitching.
- Excessive physical exertion, fatigue and, most commonly, sleep deprivation and stress are some factors that trigger twitching of the eye muscles
- High caffeine intake, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking are also known triggers
- Staring at the computer screen or television for hours together or prolonged periods of reading can stress the eye muscles to a great extent, triggering twitching. (Read: 4 easy tips to prevent eye strain and computer vision syndrome)
- Sometimes, the eyes get strained because you may need vision correction
- Eye allergies or common eye infections, such as stye, can cause inflammation, affecting the eye muscles
- Certain medications may trigger eye muscle twitching
- It is believed that magnesium deficiency may cause eye twitching, although there is no scientific evidence for it. (Read: Styes/Eye Boils in children: Dr Prachi Agashe)
Can it be serious?
Most of the times, eye twitching will stop on its own. You just have to be patient. But, for some people, it can last for several days together. If twitching occurs in both the eyes together, then you could possibly have a condition that involves involuntary blinking which can progress to forceful blinking (also called blepharospasm). It’s better to consult an eye specialist in such a case. (Read: Why should you visit an eye doctor regularly)
Tips to relieve eye twitching:
- First thing you should do is stop straining your eyes. If twitching starts while you are working, look away from the computer screen for some time and close your eyes.
- Massage your eyelids lightly with your index finger. Try blinking them hard a few times.
- If it doesn’t stop, apply some ice on the eyelid or you could wipe your eye with a cloth soaked in cold water. You can also place cucumber slices on the eyelids to getting a cooling effect and relax the eye muscles.
- Sleep well and reduce the intake of coffee and tea. (Read: Tips for better eye health in winters)
If the twitch is persistent, your ophthalmologist may give you a mild muscle relaxant. Sometimes, a local botox injection may be given. Surgery may be required when medication, eye drops and botox treatment does not work.
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