For three days straight, my LEFT EYE has been twitching. Though my instinct is to spiral into a state of hypochondria and declare the worst, I know better…. for this twitch, this incessant, annoying, want-to-punch-my-own-eye-out feeling is NOT a first for me. In fact, last year, I’m pretty sure I visited an internist, an ENT, an allergist, and an optometrist (oh, and for shits and giggles I suppose I should mention the neurologist too) to rule out “the worst….”
Why Does My Eye Twitch?
Stress: While we’re all under stress at times, our bodies react in different ways. Eye twitching can be one sign of stress, especially when it is related to vision problems such as eye strain(see below). Reducing the cause of the stress can help make the twitching stop.
Tiredness: A lack of sleep, whether because of stress or some other reason, can trigger eyelid spasms. Catching up on your sleep can help.
Eyestrain: Vision-related stress can occur if, for instance, you need glasses or a change of glasses. Your eyes may be working too hard, triggering eyelid twitching. Computer eye strain from computer use is also a very common cause of vision-related stress.
If your eyelid twitching is persistent and very annoying (like the problem experienced by my patient’s wife), you should have an eye exam, because you may need vision correction. If you spend a lot of time on the computer, you also should consider talking to your eye doctor about special computer eyeglasses.
Caffeine and alcohol: Many experts believe that too much caffeine and/or alcohol can trigger eye twitches. If your caffeine (coffee, tea, soda pop, etc.) and/or alcohol intake has increased, cutting back is worth a try.
Nutritional imbalances: Some reports indicate a lack of certain nutritional substances, such as magnesium, can trigger eyelid spasms. Although these reports lack scientific evidence, I can’t rule this out as a possible cause of eyelid twitching. If you suspect a nutritional deficiency may be affecting you, however, I suggest talking this over with your family doctor for expert advice rather tha
n randomly buying over-the-counter nutritional products.
Dry eyes: More than half the older population experiencesdry eyes, due to aging. Dry eyes also are very common for people who use computers, take certain medications (antihistamines, antidepressants, etc.), wear contact lenses and consume caffeine and/or alcohol. If you are tired and under stress, you also may develop dry eye. It’s best to see your eye doctor for a dry eye evaluation, because many treatments are now available.
Allergies: People with eye allergies can have itching, swelling and watery eyes. When eyes are rubbed, this releases histamine into the lid tissues and the tears. This is significant, because some evidence indicates that histamine can cause eyelid twitching.