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Why is my Eye Twitching?

November 8, 2017

At some time or other all of us have had an eye twitch, whether it lasted for a few minutes, a few days, or unfortunately even longer.  It can be annoying, cause minor pain, and mostly it can be a distraction from what you are really trying to focus on. Almost always this sudden onset condition is not serious nor a sign of an underlying medical condition. It is mostly just an irritation for the person experiencing the twitch. What is causing this condition and are there things you can do to avoid a twitch? Let’s take a closer look.


Main Causes of an Eye Twitch


  • Eye Strain – For too many of us we spend many hours a day staring at a computer screen or mobile device. Making your eyes work too hard can cause an eye twitch. It is always best to take planned breaks from studying, reading or computer work every 20 minutes or so to avoid eye strain. For those with undiagnosed or even diagnosed vision problems, eye strain can happen if you are in need of glasses or a change in a prescription as well. A lack of sleep can also cause eye strain leading to an eye twitch, so try to get some extra sleep to avoid or remedy eye twitches that occur often.


  • Coffee and Alcohol – Both caffeinated coffee and alcohol can trigger an eye twitch, usually due to dehydration or too much caffeine in one’s system. Try abstaining from alcohol if a twitch continues or cutting back on coffee (or better yet switch to decaf for a few days.)


  • Dry Eyes – As we age our eyes are not able to lubricate as well as they did in our younger years. As a result, many adults experience dry eye that can trigger a twitching condition. If your eyes feel dry or gritty, you may want to see your eye doctor as the spasms of your eyelid may be caused by the dry eye condition and exacerbated by eye strain and/or coffee or alcohol.


  • Allergies – For those of us with seasonal or indoor allergies, we know how miserable our eyes, nose, and throat can feel when irritated by the allergen. People with eye allergies can have itching, swelling and watery eyes. When eyes are rubbed, this releases histamine into the lid tissues and the tears. Some research evidence indicates that histamine can cause eyelid twitching.


If you have questions about your vision or eyelid twitching, call Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons at 617.232.9600 to find out more.