What’s Causing Your Eye Twitch?

Seeing the Problem Clearly-10

Most people experience the occasional eye twitch and chalk it up as a harmless and temporary malfunction.  But while it is true that these twitches are rarely a sign of a serious medical issue, they ARE a sign that your general health needs a little TLC.

Eye twitches are involuntary muscle spasms in your eyelid.  They usually only last a few minutes, but may come and go over a period of days or weeks.  Next time you experience these subtle (though irritating) twitches, remember that they are often your body’s way of telling you one or more of the following messages:


1. Get some more sleep!  Finals week?  Six-week-old baby?  Lying awake at 2 AM, worrying?  Many people neglect their recommended seven hours of sleep, willing to trade a cup of coffee for a late night.  But caffeine is unable to ward off the unwanted side effects of fatigue, including weight gain, a lowered immune system, and decreased memory.  Which leads us to number two…

2. Ease off the caffeine.  Although twitching has been widely associated with drug use, it is actually more commonly a side effect of caffeine.  Although 400 milligrams of coffee (3-4 cups) a day can be consumed by most without health consequences, many are sensitive to its effects— even after one cup.  

3. Chill out.  Cutting stress out of your life is easier said than done, but eye twitching is often a sign that it’s time to try!  Chronic stress has been linked to countless conditions, such as anxiety, depression, cancer, and a lowered immune system in general.  

4)  Take care of your dry eyes.  Eyes can become dry and irritated any time of the year, but they are most susceptible with seasonal changes or environmental triggers such as wind and smoke.  Age is also a leading factor for chronically dry eyes. If this is the source of your eye twitching, your optometrist can provide you artificial tears that will help resolve symptoms.  Taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements (fish oil) have also been shown to help!

5)  Put your screen down!  Eye strain due to extended periods of screen time use to affect primarily those with desk jobs.  Nowadays, of course, most adults— and many kids— are staring at their devices for hours a day, resulting in tired— and, therefore, twitching- eyes.


In rare cases, eye spasms points to a more serious issue.  Call your eye doctor if they are accompanied by any of these symptoms:

  • Drooping upper eyelid
  • Redness, swelling, or discharge from eye
  • Blurry vision or other vision changes
  • Eyelid that completely closes with twitch
  • Twitching worsens over time

More than likely, though, addressing the imbalanced aspects of your life listed above (and often it is a combination of more than one of them) will resolve your eye twitching..  So next time you find yourself going crazy with a spasming eyelid, consider what areas of your health you may be neglecting!


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