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February 1, 2012 at 8:29 AMComments: 3 Faves: 0

Eye Twitching - Possible Causes and Natural Treatment

By Dr. Jeff Chamberlain, MD More Blogs by This Author

Eye twitching otherwise know as blepharospasm, is relatively common.  It can range from amusing, to embarrassing, and from an occasional nuisance to (in rare cases) being the first sign of a chronic movement disorder.

Eye twitching episodes can typically last anywhere from a few days to a few months, and then spontaneously stops on it own.  Most of the time the twitching is harmless and a cause is not looked for, but even when a cause is looked for, it can be very difficult to find. 

Possible Causes of Eye Twitching

Some things that can cause eye twitching or make it worse include: 

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of sleep
  • Physical exertion
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Irritation of the eye or eyelids

Chronic Uncontrollable Eyelid Twitching - "Blepharospasm"

There is a condition know as “Benign Essential Blepharospasm,” which is when a person has chronic, uncontrollable eyelid twitching that affects both of the eyes.  Know one knows the exact cause of it, but it can be associated with pink eye (conjunctivitis), inflation of the eyelid follicle (blepharitis), dry eyes, and light sensitivity.

Eye Twitching and Chronic Movement Conditions

In rare instances, eye twitching is an early sign of brain or nerve problems causing a chronic movement disorder.  These conditions include:

  • Tourette's syndrome
  • Parkinson’s
  • Dystonia
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Drug side effects

In these more serious cases, the eye twitching is almost always accompanied with other symptoms such as facial spasms, or other movement problems.

Natural Treatment for Eye Twitching

If you are having persistent eye twitching that has passed the point of being mildly amusing, then I recommend trying to figure out if stress, fatigue, lack of sleep, physical exertion, smoking, alcohol, or caffeine is contributing to the problem.

One thing that would be worth trying is to use some mild acupressure over the effected muscle.  Here is how you do it:

  1. Locate the troubled area.
  2. Using your index finger and ring finger feel your eyelid, note where the bone of the around the eye socket. (It is important to not press over the eye itself, but pressing over the bone around the eye socket.)
  3. Press on the affected eyelid.  Having the lid be between your two fingers and the hard bone of the eye socket.
  4. Hold for 5 seconds, then release for 5 seconds.  Repeat this 5 times.
  5. Do this several times a day.

Again, it is important not to be putting pressure on the eye itself, but on the eyelid bone underneath.  When you apply pressure, the blood is temporarily pushed out of the muscles of your eyelid, when you released, the blood flows back in.  This process can help reduce muscle spasms.

When to See a Doctor About Eye Twitching

Because eye twitching is usually benign (not dangerous) and goes away on it own, most of the time the proper course of action is to wait until the eye twitching gets better on its own.  That being said, it would be a good idea to see your doctor if you are having:

  • Eye redness, swelling, or discharge.
  • Twitching on other parts of your face.
  • The eyelid completely closes with twitching.
  • Twitching that does not go away after a few weeks.
  • Any other concerning symptoms.
Stay Healthy,
Dr. Jeff M.D.

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3 Comments

  • YAY! I thought I had officially gone crazy, which is still a possibility I suppose, but the eye twitching is unrelated! WOO!

  • Dayton, you are crazy! But glad you got your answers to your "Eye Twitching".....hey, "I Dream Of Jeannie" twitched her nose, you can twitch your eye to get what you want, think of it like a "trick" that you train a dog to do! Maybe you can train your eye to twitch on command?

    Oh, what, your too young to even know that TV sitcom....

  • The twitching problem I'm having seems to be deeper like behind my eye ball and I can't read or concentrate because of the constant vibration. It's now causing headache it's been over 2 weeks since problem started I have cut out caffeine and have been sleeping and exercising.

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