Twitchy eye? Many people become concerned when they start having an eyelid that twitches intermittently or even constantly. This may occur for weeks, months, or even years. Typically it does not occur constantly and has been coming and going for a month or so when the patient finally show up at the eye doctors office concerned they have acquired a serious vision problem. Most of the time after a lengthy eye exam and detailed analysis an accurate diagnosis is made-benign eye twitch. Essentially that means the doctor has no idea what is causing your eye problem but has ruled out serious diseases
Sometimes a cause for eye twitching is found. Anything that causes ongoing low grade irritation of the eye can elicit twitches. An eyelash growing in towards the eye, dry eyes, a foreign body such as small particles of vegetation, insects, metal, etc. can all be provoke twitching eye lids. Some prescription medications and serious medical problems can precipitate eye twitches.
A well kept secret today is there are effective treatments for benign eyelid twitches. Specific types of topical antihistamine prescription eye drops frequently can alleviate the twitch, even though an eye allergy is usually not the cause. Reducing stress may help in many cases. Stress reductions techniques that help can include improving your sleep cycle by eliminating caffeine, relaxation techniques, and looking for areas to reduce the areas of high stress in your life. Cool packs on you eyes for 5-10 minutes several times per day can be tried as a palliative measure. Cold compresses probably reduce the nerve transmissions responsible for the eye twitching. If cool packs don’t work, warm packs sometimes will. Artificial non preserved tears can be used several times per day; they are not harmful and if a dry eye is part of the problem they could provide needed relief. Often a placebo effect can occur with artificial tears and is beneficial even when you are aware that it is a placebo. Medications that can evoke eye twitches include stimulant drugs for attention deficient disorder, medications for Parkinson’s disease, some cold medications, and even asthma inhalers. If the problem is severe you should discuss your medications with your physician.
Some limited studies have shown complimentary alternative medicine may be useful is certain patients. Acupuncture has reportedly helped some people. Most simple eye twitches are probably similar to the twitches you have from time to time in you legs and arms. These are often due to muscle fatigue and electrolyte imbalances. Make sure you are well hydrated and have adequate magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin D in your diet. Some healthy food to add are bananas, raisins, apricots, cantaloupes and leafy green vegetables like spinach. Avocado lovers can benefit also. Gentle stretching of leg muscle spasms has become the accepted standard replacing gentle massaging. You might try the eye equivalent of gentle stretching by slowly closing your eye, pause briefly, then open it slightly larger than normal and pause for a second. Try doing ten repetitions ten time per day.
When eye twitches become severe and spasm the eye closed it can be caused by an over stimulation of the brain center responsible for blinking. This has a genetic predisposition so if you have other family members with similar problems that is significant information you should tell your optometrist. Usually it begins with more frequent blinking and progresses to eye closure spasms. When eyelid twitches become constant and severe, they may keep the eye closed and interfere with vision. Injections of Botox, the face lifting drug, are a tremendous asset in these rare cases. Although many people are frightened by the though of injecting something into their eyelid that is so toxic it is considered a potential terrorist weapon, the doses used resemble homeopathy and are exceedingly safe. It would probably take at least 30 to 40 thousand doses at once to be lethal. Drugs in the same class as valium have had some success in treatment. As a last resort eyelid surgery can be attempted.
Uncontrollable, progressive eye spasms that effect you eye sight need further evaluation for serious underlying neurological diseases. The majority of cases are benign and the initial visit to an eye doctor can help you on the road to recovery.