Updated February 5, 2020
Only about .03% of every 100,000 individuals are affected by serious dual eye twitches or facial spasms, but the condition can make one’s day to day life extremely uncomfortable and difficult. The type of twitches you encounter can range from mild movements to intense muscle contractions that involuntarily blink the eye. If you are concerned about your eyes, visit your optometrist for a professional opinion.
What are Eye Twitches?
An eyelid twitch can be a debilitating condition that can cause your quality of life to decrease greatly. Depending on the severity of the condition, having an eyelid twitch can last anywhere from seconds to hours to days, and in some cases may last even longer. The twitches may feel strong enough that they are outwardly noticeable, but most are undetectable to others.
There are a few different types of eyelid twitches that vary in the way they are presented.
Myokymia is the medical terminology used to describe the most common form of eye twitches. Myokymia typically only affects one eye in the upper or lower eyelid and usually resolves itself after a few days.
In some cases, myokymia affects both eyes but isn’t usually severe enough to cause concern.
Blepharospasm is a type of eye twitching that affects both eyes and is usually more forceful and difficult to deal with. The condition may begin with twitches and progress to stronger involuntary contractions that make it difficult to perform daily activities such as driving or reading.
Other muscles in the face may also be affected by blepharospasm, and if left untreated, can progress to functional blindness from the episodic inability to open the eyelids.
Hemifacial spasms are different from myokymia as it can spread to involve all of the facial muscles. The spasms are episodic and usually only affect one side of the face initially, but may progress to the entire face.
If you are experiencing a type of facial twitch that is causing concern, please visit your optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam.
Causes of Eye Twitches
Depending on the type of eyelid twitch you are experiencing, there could be a variety of things linked to what is causing the involuntary movement.
Eye twitches can be annoying or uncomfortable, but aren’t dangerous and usually subside on their own. These spasms are typically preventable as well by limiting your intake of certain substances or foods.
Lack of Sleep
Not getting enough sleep is detrimental to your overall health as well as your eyes. Lack of proper rest can cause the muscles around your eye to tense up, resulting in spasms or twitches.
Caffeine intake excites the central nervous system and is most commonly found in coffee, tea, and certain foods, like chocolate. The stimulation causes the brain to speed up processes in your body and may result in feeling jittery or experiencing involuntary twitches or spasms in the eye and face.
There are several causes for wearing your eyes out, such as spending too much time on the computer or not wearing the proper prescription. When your eyes become overworked, the muscles will quiver or twitch, causing spasms.
If your vision is blurry, you may need glasses or contacts. Additionally, if you spend a lot of time looking at digital screens, certain eye exercises like the 20-20-20 rule can be very helpful in reducing eye strain.
What you ingest on a daily basis affects the way your body performs and reacts, including your eyes. Your optometrist can get you to perform certain exercises during your eye exam to check for signs of this problem.
If your diet seems to be the issue at hand, your optometrist can help create a diet plan as part of your treatment.
Treatments and Procedures
If you are experiencing any sort of recurring spasms or twitches, always visit your optometrist. However, cutting back on or involving certain things into your daily life can help. Getting more sleep, cutting down on caffeine, and reducing stress can usually solve your twitching problem.
For blepharospasm or hemifacial spasms, botulinum toxin (botox) injections can be the most effective treatment to relax muscles and give you comfort. A very thin needle is used to inject the substance above and below the eyes and it will take effect anywhere from a few days to a few weeks after the treatment. The relief usually lasts around 3 months and can be readministered after it wears off.
If botox is not a viable option, your optometrist may recommend using medication. Although medications may not be as effective as botox, it can work for some. Your optometrist will help you find the right mix of medicine to help.
If injections and medication do not work to help treat the twitches or spasms, surgery can be an option. Depending on the cause of your twitches or spasms, the surgery may remove a portion of the muscle or nerve to make them less severe.
Your optometrist will be able to help you figure out what type of treatment is right for you. If you are experiencing twitches or spasms, visit us today so we can help you find the right course of action to relieve your discomfort.