The twitching of the eye often happens accidentally and surprises us, and then we quickly forget about it after that. But sometimes the frequency of the occurrence of this tremor may increase in a way that may raise concern and surprise.
In this report, we review the most common causes of eye twitching, and when to intervene and review it with a doctor to avoid any possible developments.
Causes of eye twitching
Eye twitching is caused by uncontrollable muscle spasms. It is a condition that doctors and specialists call “blepharospasm”.
The condition tends to occur more in the upper eyelids of the eyes. This cap moves every few seconds, and usually extends for a minute or two at most.
For most people, these spasms are very minor and are often felt as a gentle pulling of the upper eyelid, or sometimes the lower eyelid as well. However, others may experience a severe blepharospasm that causes them to close their eyes completely.
These episodes of eyelid twitching are always difficult to predict. It may occur intermittently for several days. It may be interrupted and not repeated for weeks and months in a row.
These spasms are usually not painful or harmful at all, but they can cause discomfort and embarrassment for the affected person. They often resolve on their own without the need for treatment.
But in rare cases, eyelid spasms may be an early warning sign of a chronic movement disorder, especially if that movement is accompanied by other facial spasms or uncontrollable muscle movements.
Types of eye twitching according to its degree and causes
There are 3 types of this type of blepharospasm. According to WebMD, they are as follows:
1- Mild eye spasms: Minor eyelid twitching is often associated with normal everyday things such as feeling tired, stressed or consuming a large amount of caffeine.
It may also be caused by irritation of the surface of the eye (cornea) or the membranes that line the eyelids (conjunctiva).
2- Benign blepharospasm: Benign primary blepharospasm usually appears in the middle to late adulthood, and may worsen over time. It is a common and non-serious health condition, and it is more common in women than men.
Although it is not a serious health condition, some of the more serious conditions can interfere with your normal daily life and cause embarrassment at social events.
This condition begins with persistent blindness or irritation of the eyes.
As it worsens, a person may begin to experience sensitivity to light, blurred vision, and facial spasms. Sometimes the spasms may become so severe that a person closes their eyelids for several hours at a time.
Researchers believe that genetic factors, genes and surrounding life conditions are the reason behind the occurrence of this health symptom.
3- Hemi- spasm: Hemi- spasm is the rarest type. It includes the muscles around the mouth and eyelid. Unlike the other two types, it usually affects only one side of your face. In most cases, it is caused by an artery pressing on the facial nerve.
Causes of eye twitching:
The eyelid may twitch for a variety of reasons, ranging from an unusual signal in the brain to a spasm of the facial muscles. Everyday things that can lead to eye twitching include:
1- Eye irritation
2- Eyelid strain
4- Lack of sleep
5- physical exertion
6- A side effect of a particular drug
8- Excessive use of caffeine, tobacco or alcohol
And if the spasms become chronic and recurring, you may have what’s known as the “benign essential blepharospasm” mentioned above.
Although it’s not clear what causes this type of eye twitching, the following usually make twitches worse, according to Healthline, too:
2- Conjunctivitis or pinky
3- dry eyes
4- Environmental irritants, such as wind, bright lights, sun, or air pollution
6- Sensitivity to light
7- nervous pressure
8- Excessive smoking and consumption of stimulants or alcohol
The condition is likely to worsen over time and may eventually lead to blurry vision, increased sensitivity to light, and facial spasms.
According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, primary blepharospasm has several early symptoms that can help distinguish it from occasional eye twitching. According to Medical News Today, they are as follows:
1- Swelling in one or both eyes
2- Blink your eye frequently
3- Other muscles in the face suffer from cramps
4- Irritation of the eyes in bright light and extreme conditions
5- Cramps persist for an hour or more
Eye tremors due to brain disorders or nerve injuries
Eyelid spasms are rarely a symptom of a more serious brain or nerve disorder. When blepharospasms are the result of these more serious conditions, they are almost always accompanied by other symptoms.
Brain and nerve disorders that may cause eyelid spasms include:
Bell’s paralysis (facial paralysis), a condition that causes one side of your face to droop downward.
Dystonia, which causes unexpected muscle spasms and severe twisting or bending of the affected part of the body.
Cervical dystonia (spasmodic torticollis), which causes the neck to randomly spasm and to twist the head into uncomfortable positions.
Multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease of the central nervous system that causes problems with cognition and movement, as well as fatigue.
Parkinson’s disease, which can cause trembling limbs, muscle stiffness, balance problems and difficulty speaking.
Tourette’s syndrome, which is characteriz by involuntary movement and verbal tics.
Undiagnosed corneal abrasions can also cause blepharospasms.
And if you think you have an eye injury, see your eye doctor right away. Corneal abrasions can cause permanent damage to the eye.
When do eyelid spasms and eye twitching require a visit to a specialist?
Eyelid spasms are rarely serious enough to require emergency medical treatment. However, chronic eyelid spasms may be a symptom of a more serious brain or nervous system disorder.