What is eve twitching?
Have you ever experienced those mild yet weird spasms in your eyelids? It’s called eye-twitching – the repetitive fluctuations that cause irritation and seem unending. The superstitions surrounding it are even more interesting- if your left eye twitches, it suggests a bad omen and if the right eye twitches, it signifies good luck. Well, we aren’t sure of the omens, we can tell you that regular twitching of eyes could indicate a nutrient deficiency. Eye twitching is not a voluntary bodily function and is also known as Myokymia – characterized by involuntary twitching of the eyelid muscles.
Myokymia or eye twitching can occur because of stress, tiredness, strain in the eyes, excessive alcohol consumption, dry eyes Eye twitching can be caused due to a B12 deficiency which may occur as a result of excessive alcohol consumption, or an imbalance in electrolytes sodium and potassium. Eye twitching may also occur due to excessive loss of fluids or dehydration.”
Causes of Eye Twitching:
Most may think that this is something very common that happens, and we may avoid it. Eye twitching is however not a serious condition but it can be worse for your vision. Stress is one of the main reasons that trigger this condition. However, Yoga and some breathing exercises can work well and reduce some of these symptoms. Certain factors trigger this condition. Here is a list of those factors that can trigger it.
1. Eye Strain:
Contemporarily speaking, eye strain can happen due to light emitted out of your mobile phone or by constantly looking at your laptop screen. Of course, there might too much work on a Monday morning and you will have to keep looking at that screen for hours. However, there is a way to prevent yourself from straining your eyes 1.
All you need to do is to follow the 20 minutes rue of looking away from your device or monitor every 20 minutes thus allowing your eyes to focus on a distant object for 20 seconds. Eye strain currently is linked to straining of your eyes due to looking at the laptop, mobile and tablet screen for too long. This may trigger eye twitching in future if practised regularly.
2. Consuming Too Much Caffeine:
Consuming too much caffeine daily can lead to eye twitching. Well, all you need to do is to restrict yourself from consuming too much black tea, chocolate and sugary soda drinks. If you are facing the problem of uncontrolled blinking of eyes and then cut down on your intake of all of these elements that trigger it and you may witness some changes. If there seem to be no changes, you need to consult an optician as soon as possible.
3. Extreme Tiredness:
Extreme tiredness is usually caused due to less sleep or sometimes lack of sleep. Make sure you get a minimum of 8 hours of good sleep and you can make sure that your body or your eyes do not strain. When you have not had proper sleep, your eyelids tend to shutter own and you may strain it by keeping it open. You need to understand that your eyes need rest from all the pollutants and light that enters it daily. Thus, extreme tiredness or fatigue trigger eye twitching.
4. Alcohol Consumption:
Every weekend ends in a beer meet or a day that ends in some interesting conversation over alcohol. But, if you have been suffering from alcohol consumption, then make sure that you notice if you feel your eye twitching after alcohol consumption. If so, then you need to restrain from it.
5. Dry Eyes:
Most adults who have passed the age of 50 experience dry eyes, however, this problem seems to be affecting youngsters too. This is because of the overuse of digital devices. Moreover, dry eyes are caused due to certain kinds of medications such as antidepressants antihistamines etc. So if you have dry eyes, firstly make it a point to consult an optician as this can lead to eye twitching.
6. Eye Allergies:
People suffering from itching in the eye, watery eyes and swelling of the eyes have high risks of developing eye twitching. Also, all of these factors will make you rub your eyes and this can worsen your condition. However, make sure you consult an optician.
7. Nutrition Problems:
Lack of certain nutritional substances such as magnesium tends to trigger eye twitching. However, if you are not satisfied that your regular diet is not supplying you with enough nutrition, then it is advised that you consult a dietitian as soon as possible, and he/ she will prescribe an appropriate diet based on your body condition.
The above-listed causes can lead to chronic eye twitching which is also known as blepharospasm. This condition involves uncontrollable blinking of your eyelids that can be a problem for your vision. However, most women are sensitive to chronic eye twitching than men.
Can nutrient deficiency be the cause?
While a lack of B12 vitamin in the body can be one of the causes of eyelid spasms and can magnesium deficiency. According to a study published in Neurology India, eye twitching and vitamin B12 deficiency may be correlated. However, the study also mentions that the possibilities remain a bit unclear. Similarly, magnesium does play an essential role in the functioning of cells, tissues and organs throughout the body and therefore, experiencing eyelid spasms may be related to the deficiency of magnesium in the body.
Possible treatment for twitching eye
- Consume less caffeine
- Get enough sleep
- Don’t let your eyes dry out
- Apply a warm compress on your eyes when the spasm starts
- Repetitive, uncontrollable blinking or spasm of the eyelid, usually the upper lid
Causes can be
- Dry eyes
- Nutritional imbalances
Other Causes of Eye Twitching:
There have been very rare cases of eye twitching having any sort of impact on your nerves and brain. However, it could lead to further medical complications and this would be on a rare basis. But, it might be the other way round such that other types of medical conditions can trigger a twitching eye. Here are some causal factors that can trigger this medical condition.
- Cervical Dystonia: This type of medical condition involves uncontrolled movement in your neck and head that twists in an uncontrollable position.
- Bell’s palsy: This is a serious condition where one part of your face droops downwards. This may also result in triggering a twitching eye.
- Multiple sclerosis: This is a disease in the central nervous system that causes movement problems and extreme tiredness.
- Parkinson’s disease: This disease involves severe trembling of limbs and muscles. A person suffering from Parkinson’s disease will find it difficult to talk, eat and walk as this disease causes muscle stiffness. This can also trigger eye twitching.
- Tourette syndrome: This is a neurological disorder that involves repetitive and involuntary movements and vocal sounds.
Signs & Symptoms
In the early stages, benign essential blepharospasm is characterized by frequent or forced blinking and eye irritation that is often worsened by certain stimuli including bright lights, fatigue, emotional tension, and environmental factors such as wind or air pollution. BEB virtually always affects both eyes (bilateral).
The frequency of muscle spasms and contractions may increase causing involuntary narrowing of the opening between the eyelids or closure of the eyelids. It may become progressively harder for affected individuals to keep their eyes open. In severe cases, the spasms may intensify to the point where the eyelids are closed several hours at a time. Although an individual’s vision remains unaffected, prolonged closure of the eyelids may cause a person to become functionally blind.
BEB may occur in association with dystonia of the lower part of the face, mouth or jaw. In these cases, BEB may be associated with jaw clenching, grimacing or tongue protrusion. This is called Meige syndrome of cranial dystonia. BEB may also be associated with abnormally dry eyes.
No laboratory tests exist to make a definitive diagnosis of benign essential blepharospasm. A diagnosis is made based upon thorough clinical evaluation, detailed patient history and identification of characteristic symptoms.
Try these natural remedies to get relief:
- Cold Water – for immediate relief, splash your face and eyes with cold water.
- Rose Water – to clean your eyes and relax your eye muscles, use a few drops of rose water as eye drops.
- Massage – for instant twitching eyelid relief, relax the muscles around your eyes by gently massaging your eyelids with a warm, wet towel or washcloth.
- Cucumber or potato soothing – put thin slices of cucumber or potato on your eyes to soothe and relax your eye muscles.
- Remember to blink often – remember to blink every 4 5 seconds when you are staring at something a lot like the computer. This is one of the most important remedies because it will help to prevent dry eye and help to relieve eyelid twitching. Blinking will help to keep your eyes moist and relax your eye muscles.
- Reduce stress and get more sleep.
- Taking naps may help.
- Avoid strain on eyes. Stay away from bright light.
- If required, wear glasses.
- Reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcohol intake to help ease your eyelid twitch.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes when you have itchy, swelling, watery or tired eyes.
Home Remedies for Treating Eye Twitching:
In most cases twitching of the eye resolves on its own in few days or a week. Some main factors that trigger this problem are stress, consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Also, you need to differentiate the degree of the problem based on its severity. However, here are some home remedies that you need to follow to get rid of it.
- If you love drinking coffee, then you need to limit yourself to it by drinking not more than 1 cup daily. Similarly, if you have the habit of consuming sugary soda drinks, then consider putting a stop to it as it could be one of the main reasons for eye twitching.
- Make sure that you get enough sleep. Lack of sleep leads to death and you need t make it a point to get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep.
- Try not to stress out in life. Understand the meaning of no stress and find new ways to relax and keep a cool head. This is because stress is a major cause of twitching eye.
- If you have a twitching eye, then apply some lukewarm water on it and gently massage your eyelids with your fingers, This will ease it dow
Another easy home remedy.
- Stand beside sink ﬁlled with hot water
- (just make sure that the water is bearable temperature).
- Make a few circles over your closed eyes with that piece of ice.
- Then right away splash your closed eyes with the hot water
How to treat nutrient deficiencies
B12 vitamin deficiency: A deficiency in the B12 vitamin can lead to muscle weakness and vision problems in the long run. Load up on B12 rich foods that may include red meat, milk, chicken, eggs and salmon.
Magnesium deficiency: Magnesium is an important micro-nutrient that ensures the proper functioning of all the muscles in the body. Eye twitching can be a sign of a lack of magnesium in the body. Consume magnesium rich-foods like green leafy vegetables, bananas, yoghurt, avocados, dried fruits, pumpkin seeds and beans to get your daily dose.
Benign essential blepharospasm (BEB) is a rare neurological disorder in which affected individuals experience involuntary muscle spasms and contractions of the muscles around the eyes. These spasms come and go (intermittent). Symptoms may begin as eye twitching and blinking and there may be symptoms of eye irritation. Eventually, BEB causes involuntary closure of the eyes. The exact cause of BEB is unknown. The disorder is one of a group of disorders collectively known as adult-onset focal dystonias.
When Do You Need a Doctor?
If you are facing uncontrollable blinking of your eyelids for more than 2 days, then you need to consult an optician at the earliest. He/ she would put you on minor medication that will ease your eyelid muscles and keep it relaxed. So, make sure that you keep in mind some symptoms of this condition so that you can make it to an optician at the earliest.
Treatment of BEB consists of oral drug therapy, focal injections of botulinum toxin (four different brands are available in the USA) or surgery to remove eyelid muscle, used alone or in conjunction with the botulinum toxin injections.
Approximately one-third of affected individuals are treated with oral medications (drug therapy) specifically anticholinergic drugs and with dopamine depleters such as tetrabenazine. The results of these drug treatments are usually moderate or unsatisfactory and often temporary. Additional drugs that have been used to treat BEB include clonazepam, trihexyphenidyl, diazepam, and baclofen.
Botulinum toxin has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a treatment for blepharospasm and has become the primary form of treatment. The technique of injecting small amounts of botulinum toxin into the orbicularis oculi weakens these muscles for approximately three months, after which time the procedure must be repeated. Botulinum toxin injections have been helpful for many individuals with blepharospasm, but some people do not respond well. Botox, distributed by Allergan, and Xeomin, distributed by Merz Pharmaceuticals, are type A botulinum toxin products that are FDA approved for the treatment of blepharospasm.
Two surgical approaches are in use in patients in which drug therapy does not work. In a procedure called a protractor myectomy, the eyelid muscles themselves are removed either partially or completely.
In the past, a procedure known as a neurectomy was performed to treat individuals with BEB. However, the complication rate is much higher than with a myectomy and this procedure is rarely used anymore. In a neurectomy, sections are taken off the branches of the facial nerve leading to the orbicularis oculi. Paralysis of the entire upper face may result, but the nerve branches tend to regenerate after months or years.