Have you ever had an eye twitch for so long that you weren’t actually sure if it was going to stop? Shockingly, this is a pretty common thing. In fact, there are so many different triggers that could cause eye twitching. According to the University of Michigan Health Kellogg Eye Center, eye twitching happens via one of three categories: Myokymia, benign essential blepharospasm, and hemifacial spasm.
Myokymia is the most common form of eye twitching. It’s when the eyelid twitches and is largely due to lifestyle factors. Benign essential blepharospasms and hemifacial spasms, on the other hand, are more severe medical issues, as they could be due to facial muscles and impair vision.
The majority of eye twitching happens due to lifestyle changes. Blepharospasm, the science way of saying uncontrollable eye twitch, can be passed down from family members. These types of twitches can last anywhere between a few seconds to a few minutes. It might start really slow and not be too concerning, but can turn into a medical condition like multiple sclerosis.
Of course, if your eye twitching is worsening, you should see a doctor immediately.
Below we share the common causes of eye twitching and ways to correct it.
The reasons why your eye is twitching
Stress: High stress is the largest reason for eye twitching. And, who could blame you after the last 2 1/2 years we’ve had. The best thing you can do is try to remove your stressor when you feel a twitch coming on. This might mean stepping away from your computer and going for a walk.
Setting boundaries with colleagues, family, and friends can help mitigate the effects of pent-up stress. Or maybe it means you gather a proper unwinding routine at the end of the day: Soothing hot shower or bath, meditation, or even an infrared sauna session. Whatever you decide to do to unwind, it should lower your stress levels.
Eye strain: Like so many of us, time looking at our phones, computers, and TV screens have caused an intense eye strain. If you have to look at a screen all day for work, or whatever else the case is, try looking away from the screen for at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes. These frequent screen breaks will give your eyes a break and reduce eye strain.
Fatigue: If you didn’t get a proper night’s sleep, or just all in all don’t feel rested, eye twitching could come. Reminder: A healthy adult is meant to get between 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Too much caffeine: The more caffeine you drink, the more excess energy your body will have—leading to eye twitching. If you notice your eyes twitch when you drink a couple cups of coffee a day, this is a good sign to reduce your caffeine intake.
Too much alcohol: Too much alcohol can lead to blurred vision and eye twitching. The best way to avoid these symptoms is to cut back on your consumption.
Dry eyes: If your eyes are super dry, twitching could develop.
How to stop eye twitching
The annoying, but maybe soothing thing is that all minor twitches tend to resolve on their own. Changing your lifestyle can make all the difference (getting more sleep, cutting back on alcohol, caffeine, etc). Of course, if the twitching doesn’t stop on its own—you should visit a doctor for their professional medical opinion.
If you think getting better sleep is impossible, try out a meditation app. (And getting off your phone.)
Photo via iStock