Involuntary rhythmic contractions of the eyelid muscles are usually denoted by the expression “eye twitched” – and this condition is familiar to almost everyone. By itself, it is not dangerous to health, but sometimes it can significantly interfere, distracting from business. Internet search results can be intimidating: among the conditions described as causes of tics, there are glaucoma, Bell’s palsy, and even multiple sclerosis. We figure out when you really need to sound the alarm and what methods help to stop a twitching eye in most cases.
What is the reason and how to help yourself
Muscles contract, receiving nerve impulses, and these, in turn, are caused by the electrical activity of the brain. Sometimes this electrical activity becomes chaotic for a second – something like a “flash” occurs , forcing the muscles of the eyelid to contract. Most of the time, this occurs when fatigue, high levels of stress, arousal from excess caffeine, or overuse of the eyes themselves. If a tick appears, you should pay attention to the amount of coffee and tea you drink, take up the regimen and improve your sleep.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends reducing stress (which means getting enough sleep, meditating and being physically active) and pay attention to the condition of the eyes. A tick can be triggered by their fatigue, dryness, irritation, so moisturizing drops and a timer will come to the rescue, making them regularly distract from the screens for several minutes . It is advisable to take care of the hygiene of the workplace – in particular, adjust the lighting so as not to sit in the twilight, but also not to irritate the eyes with too bright light.
In general, if the body signals accumulated fatigue with the help of a twitching eye, you should not ignore these signals. If simple measures have not worked in a few days, and your stress or anxiety levels are not decreasing, you may need to deal with them more seriously – with the help of drugs or non-drug methods such as psychotherapy.
If the tick gets worse
Sometimes muscle contractions of the eyelids are not a symptom of stress, but an independent disease, benign essential blepharospasm. Usually it is characterized not just by twitching of the eyelid, but by blinking with complete closure of one or both eyes. It is a neurological disorder in which muscles are constantly receiving impulses to make them contract. Essential blepharospasm is more common in women and can seriously affect quality of life, such as not being allowed to drive. The cause of this disorder cannot be eliminated, but blepharospasm itself can be removed by injections of botulinum toxin – while this is the most effective method. In severe cases, if Botox does not work, doctors may suggest surgery .
If with essential blepharospasm, the muscles of the eyelids usually contract on both sides, then with hemifacial spasm – different muscles of the face on one side. This is also a local neurological process, which is not dangerous, but very unpleasant – and the first choice in treatment will be botulinum toxin injections to stop involuntary movements.
If you were once diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and, against the background of a stabilized state, the eyelid began to twitch, it is worth visiting an endocrinologist; you may need to adjust the dose of medication or make some changes in therapy. Ticks can also be an undesirable effect of some drugs, in particular, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics and diuretics.
As for more dangerous causes – like multiple sclerosis or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – it is unlikely that a twitching eye can be their first sign. Such diseases manifest themselves with other, more significant symptoms and by the time the tic appears, they will most likely have already been diagnosed. So a twitching eye is not a cause for panic, even if online search results suggest otherwise. Most likely, a tic is just a signal from the body that it is time to pause.