Ask Dr. Beach: “Why does my eye or eyelid twitch?”

Twitching of the eye or the eyelid can be quite a disturbing event to experience, but it’s actually a pretty common problem.

Most often the twitching is something called “eyelid myokymia.”    Myokymia is a local irritation of the nerve controlling some of the muscles around the eyelid.    Typically, eyelid myokymia should involve rapid twitching of the eylid which usually is not visible to the individual or to other observers.   The event is also typically pretty brief, although it may occur on multiple occasions throughout the day, and it may last just one day or up to several days.

The causes of eyelid myokymia are:  stress, fatigue, lack of sleep, excessive caffeine or alcohol use, and/or recent illness.      As a result, lifestyle adaptation and patience are the only ways to treat myokymia.

However, when we talk about eyelid twitching, it’s important to mention a few red flags that signal other more serious medical issues.    For example, if a patient is experiencing very pronounced flinching or twitching or the eyelids, numbness or tingling on one side of the face, or twiching on one side of the face then the instigator is further back along the nerve pathway.    These red flags signal nervous issues that are potentially serious to a person’s overall health and should be reported to a doctor right away.

In all, eyelid twitching or myokymia is one of those little annoying things in life.   Luckily, there’s  a lot of really great things in life to overshadow the minor annoyances.    As always, we’d love to hear from you.    Shoot us an email or facebook post if you have any questions or comments.

Dr. Beach