Women sitting at a desk, rubbing her eyes
Women sitting at a desk, rubbing her eyes

Eyelid Twitching

Eyelid twitches (or spasms) are involuntary muscle movements that happen in one or both eyelids. They can come on suddenly and last hours, days or even longer. Most common eyelid twitches are harmless, minor and do not affect your vision.

There are more serious conditions that can make eyelid muscles contract (such as blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm). These less common conditions tend to cause the eyelids to close more fully and for longer periods of time—limiting or completely blocking vision. For most of us, though, the common eyelid twitch is merely a temporary annoyance. When it lasts longer or occurs more frequently, there are some steps you can take to help remedy the twitch.

Treatment for Eyelid Twitches

  • Get some rest: Make the time for some restorative sleep as eyelid twitches often happen to people when they are overtired
  • Cut back on caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant and can cause eyelid twitches. Limiting your coffee, tea and/or soda intake may help to reduce eyelid twitching
  • Alleviate stress: If you can’t alleviate the source of stress, try some stress-relieving activities to help get rid of the twitch
  • Moisturize your eyes: In some cases, having irritated or dry eyes can lead to eyelid spasms

Go to your eye doctor if:

  • Your eyelids keep twitching for more than a few weeks
  • Your eyes close completely when they twitch
  • Other parts of your face start to twitch, such as the muscles on either side of your face
  • Your eyes feel gritty and/or uncomfortable

More chronic forms of the condition can be treated in the following ways:

  • Injections: Injections are administered to cause localized paralysis around the affected area. In most cases, the eyes are immediately responsive, and symptoms are relieved between injections
  • Surgery: If injections don’t work, your doctor may recommend a myectomy—a surgical procedure wherein the surgeon removes some of the muscle or nerve tissue to help stop the twitching. These methods are only used in serious cases, for patients who do not respond to other forms of treatment