How often have you heard that if your right eye is twitching, you have good fortune coming your way? Or that twitching in the left eye is a bad omen? These superstitions have been in our society for a long time now. But why do our eyes twitch?
Here’s the medical reason why our eyes twitch!
Twitching of eyes, medically known as myokymia, is nothing but uncontrolled pulling or fluttering of eyelids.
The movements of eyelids are controlled by two muscles: orbicularis oculi, which helps in closing the eyelids, and levator palpebrae superioris, which helps in raising the eyelids. A contraction in any of these muscles can lead to twitching.
Twitching of eyes is also associated with stress, anxiety, tiredness, exhaustion, pollution, drinking caffeine or alcohol, and intake of medicines like phenytoin, used in case of epilepsy, may also lead to twitching of eyes.
People usually describe twitching as a gentle tug on the eyelid. The episodes of eyelid twitching are unpredictable and may occur off and on for several days.
Do I need to worry about the eye twitching?
The twitches are bothersome but painless and most of them resolve on their own without the need for treatment.
Visit a doctor if the twitching persists for more than a week or is accompanied by other symptoms like pain, watery eyes, redness. Some of the conditions in which twitching eyes may need immediate medical attention are:
- Blepharitis: an inflammation of the eyelids. Patients may experience burning, pain, itching, scaling, reddening, and crusting of the eyelid. It does not affect the vision.
- Hemifacial spasm: a nervous disorder where there is involuntary or unwilling twitching of muscles on one side of the face.
- Benign fasciculation syndrome: a neurological disorder due to overactive nerves, leading to long-lasting twitches and cramps.
- Dystonia: a neurological disorder that causes abnormal muscle movements and body postures.
- Motor neuron disease: a rare condition that slowly damages parts of the nervous system by destroying all motor neurons, which are responsible for the movement of the body, leading to muscle weakness and eventually wasting.
How can I stop the twitching?
In most cases, eye twitching resolves on its own, but some measures could be taken to avoid it.
- Reduce stress: Yoga, breathing exercises and getting more downtime into your schedule are ways to reduce stress.
- Sleep well: Lack of sleep, whether because of stress or some other reason, can trigger a twitching eyelid. Get at least seven hours of sleep daily.
- Relieve eye strain: Follow the “20-20-20 rule” when using digital devices – look away from your screen every 20 minutes and allow your eyes to focus on a distant object which is at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds or longer.
- Cut down on caffeine: Cut back on coffee, tea, chocolate and soft drinks for a week or two and see if your eye twitching disappears.
- No liquor: Try abstaining alcohol for a while and see if there is any difference in twitching.
This article was written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read our detailed article on Eyelid-twitching: Reasons and Treatment.