Twitch - eyelid

Alternative names
Eyelid spasm; Eye twitch; Blepherospasm; Eyelid twitch

Definition
Blepharospasm is the medical term for when your eyelid muscles repeatedly and rhythmically contract. In some instances, the eyelid may repeatedly close (or nearly close) and re-open.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The most common things that make the muscle in your eyelid twitch are fatigue, stress, and caffeine. Once spasms begin, they may continue off and on for a few days. Then, they disappear. Most people experience this type of eyelid twitch on occasion and find it very annoying. In most cases, you won’t even notice when the twitch has stopped.

More severe contractions, where the eyelid completely closes, are possible. These can be caused by irritation of the surface of the eye (cornea) or the membranes lining the eyelids (conjunctiva).

Sometimes, the reason your eyelid is twitching cannot be identified. This form of eyelid twitching lasts much longer, is often very uncomfortable, and can also cause your eyelids to close completely.

Symptoms
In addition to having repetitive, uncontrollable twitching or spasms of your eyelid (usually the upper lid), you may be very sensitive to light or have blurry vision.

Treatment

Eyelid twitching usually disappears without treatment. In the meantime, the following steps may help:

     
  • Get more sleep.  
  • Drink less caffeine.  
  • Lubricate your eyes with eye drops.

If twitching is severe, small injections of Botulinum toxin can temporarily cure the spasms.

Support Groups

For additional information and support, see http://www.blepharospasm.org (Benign Essential Blepharospasm Research Foundation). They can be reached at 409-832-0788.

Expectations (prognosis)
The twitches usually stop within a week.

Complications
Permanent eye injury from unrecognized cornea injury is possible, but rare.

Calling your health care provider

Call your primary care physician or eye doctor (ophthalmologist) if:

     
  • Your eyelid twitching does not go away within one week.  
  • The twitching involves other parts of your face.  
  • You have redness, swelling, or a discharge from your eye.  
  • The twitching completely closes your eyelid.  
  • Your upper eyelid is drooping.

 

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 7, 2012
by Mamikon Bozoyan, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.