Why do eyes twitch?

Why do eyes twitch?

We’ve all experienced it. That annoying eyelid twitch. Sometimes the eye itself even seems to twitch or jitter, making your vision jumpy. Of course, it always seems to happen when we’re just minding our own business, and our eyes feel fine otherwise, right? So why does the eye twitch!?


To eliminate the guesswork and put your mind at ease, I’ve compiled a list of the most common causes of eye twitch based on research and anecdotal evidence. (None of these “causes” are reason for concern, and an eyelid twitch is usually not the sign of a serious problem.)


So without further ado, the number one cause of an eyelid twitch is (drumroll, please)…


1) Caffeine! Caffeine is great for a little pick-me-up, but it can overstimulate the delicate nerves that control your lid and cause a twich. Okay, you’re thinking, “I sometimes have a Pepsi or Mountain Dew. But I’m not a Starbucks junky.” Thing is, it only takes a little bit of caffeine to get your lid going like a sewing machine. Especially if you’re already suffering from our number 2 cause of eye twitch…


2) Lack of sleep. Being over-tired or fatigued from a poor night sleep or staying up too late (perhaps from too much caffeine?) can make the nerves that control blinking and lid movement overly sensitive, also leading to twitch.


3) Stress. No surprise here. Stress can cause or exacerbate just about any ailment, including heart disease, diabetes, headaches, and asthma, to name a few. And eye twitching is no exception. Try lighting some candles, take a bath, meditate and take deep breaths. Whatever you do, quit stressing out about that eyelid twitch!


4) Dehydration. Dehydration can cause an electrolyte imbalance which can lead to lid spasm. Make sure you are drinking enough water or juice. And don’t forget that caffeine is a diuretic – another reason to avoid it.


5) Dry eye (and other eye irritants). When your eyes are dry, you tend to squint or hold your eyes a bit more closed. When the muscles in your lid become fatigued, they can start to twitch. Smoking, wind, and dust will only add to the problem. Over-the-counter eye lubricants can help. (But be sure to stay away from Visine, Clear Eyes, or other “redness relievers” which will actually dry your eyes worse.)


6) Change in eyeglass prescription. If your eyes have changed, your vision will be blurry. Blurry vision can lead to squinting. Squinting can lead to twitch. (You get the idea.)


For most folks, the eyelid twitch is usually a result of a combination of factors. The bottom line? Lay off the caffeine, get some sleep, distress, and rehydrate! And, of course, have an eye exam, especially if you’re overdue.


By the way, if your entire eye is clamping shut and won’t open, it may be a sign of a more serious condition called as blepharospasm. Fortunately, this can usually be treated with botox injections. Also, if you have recently suffered a head injury and your eye continues to jitter for more than a few hours, it could be the sign of a neurological condition called nystagmus. Not sure? Give us a call at Frontier Eye Care. We’ll be glad to address your concerns!

About Doug Hodgson

Doug Hodgson, OD, MS, is the eye doctor and owner of Frontier Eye Care. Dr. Hodgson's passion is making sure everybody enjoys their world to the fullest with the best vision possible. Connect with Doug on Google+