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Why is my eyelid twitching?

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Many of you come to my office with secondary complaints that occasionally your eyelid is twitches, or has been twitching, annoyingly, for several days. I feel for this problem, as this happens to me from time to time as well. There is no specific lid that these twitches are sectorial to, though they usually involve one of the lower lids versus the upper.

What Causes Eyelid Twitching?

This fluttering-lid condition, otherwise known as myokymia, can be caused by several factors:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much caffeine
  • Stress
  • Allergies
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Eye strain

I usually consider the first three the ‘most common offenders’ and find they are often intertwined.

How do I Make it Stop?

Things you can do to relieve your eyelid fluttering include the following:

  • Try to calm down, relax and find something fun to do. Reducing your workload, spending more time with friends and doing more fun activities can help you reduce stress.
  • Try to get more sleep. Inadequate sleep, often caused by stress, can cause your eyelid to twitch and the two can have a cyclic effect.
  • Try to back off the caffeine. Reduce your intake of tea, coffee, soft drinks and chocolate. You my also try some decaffeinated options to see if this will stop the fluttering.
  • Get your eyes examinedUncorrected and under-corrected vision will cause eye strain which will lead to stress, fatigue, bad posture, and aches and pains.
  • Get your eyes examinedAllergies, especially ocular allergies can cause your eyes to swell and/or twitch. Your eye doctor may prescribe allergy drops if this seems to be the culprit.
  • Get your eyes examinedIf no other causes can be found and the twitching has persisted for some time, a nutritional deficiency may be involved, most commonly lack of magnesium. Your eye doctor may refer you to see your Primary Care Physician for further testing.
  • Try some tonic water. Many people report relief from their eye twitches after having a glass of tonic water. Perhaps with your favorite vodka or gin at the end of your long day?

In general, your eye twitch shouldn’t be anything you sit and worry about. It will likely go away shortly after trying a few of these tips. If it persists, and if you haven’t already scheduled one this year, (and you should!) – a comprehensive eye exam is always in your best interest. If you have any additional questions about eyelid twitching, contact me and I would be happy to answer them.

Thank you and come ‘see’ me soon!

Written by Dr. Joseph Rich

Dr. Joseph D. Rich moved to Columbia shortly after completing his doctorate at Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN. Growing up and completing his undergraduate work in biology, chemistry, and business management at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, MO, Dr. Rich considers himself a full-fledged Mizzou fan and actively enjoys going to as many games as possible.
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