The Tale of the Twitchy Eyelid

One of the most common symptoms reported to the eye doctor is that dang pesky eyelid twitch.  Although it generally never causes pain or loss of vision, it can be a disruption to a person’s day and be downright aggravating.  The clinical term for the most common form of the twitching eyelid is eyelid myokymia.  Basically, it refers to the involuntary and prolonged electrical spasms of the facial muscles that control the blinking motion of the eyelids.  The exact nature of the spasms is still somewhat of a mystery, but there are definite correlations with both the physical and emotional status of the person having the eyelid twitch.  Mental and physical stress and fatigue, lack of adequate sleep, too much caffeine, and overindulgence in alcohol and tobacco can all trigger eyelid myokymia.  Occasionally injuries to the eye, allergies, and dry eyes can also cause an over-excited spasm of the eyelid muscles.  The simplest way to reduce the severity and persistence of the eyelid twitch is to modify/remove the causative agent.  For short-term relief you can try putting a cold compress on the problematic eye, this can be done with an ice-pack or a bag of your favorite frozen vegetables (carrots for bonus points).  Another remedy that has some anecdotal evidence is a topical allergy eye drop such as OTC Zaditor or Alaway, which are especially useful during allergy season to help control watery and itchy eyes.  The biggest takeaway is that most eyelid twitches are benign episodes that can repeat themselves in cycles and to help control them you can go to bed a little earlier, cut down the cups of coffee, take it easy on the tobacco and alcohol, and just let your body and mind relax a little bit!

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