What is eyelid twitch?

Eyelid twitch is a series of rapid, uncontrolled contractions or spasms of one or both eyelids. The twitches often occur in irregular rhythms. Sometimes the term eyelid twitch is used to describe blepharospasm, a condition characterized by increased involuntary eye blinking. Blepharospasm is classified as a dystonia, a disorder in which the nervous systems signals muscles to contract inappropriately.

Eye Problems Spotlight

Eyelid twitch may occur with other eye symptoms such as watery eyes and irritated or red eyes or eyelids. Sometimes eyelid twitch appears along with facial tics, which are other involuntary movements of the face including grimacing and nose twitching.

The most common causes of eyelid twitch include fatigue, stress, anxiety, and excessive caffeine intake. Eyelid twitch may appear in response to irritation caused by smoke, dust, or a foreign body in the eye. Allergies and infections may also cause irritation that leads to twitching. Eyelid twitch is seen in primary congenital glaucoma. Various conditions that affect the central nervous system and brain, such as stroke, can also result in eyelid twitch.

In most cases, eyelid twitch goes away on its own with rest or removal of irritating factors. If you have persistent eyelid twitch, contact your health care provider to determine the underlying cause and to obtain any treatment that may be needed.

Eyelid twitch is not an emergency unless it is associated with a stroke. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have symptoms of stroke such as sudden numbness or weakness of the face or a limb, especially on one side of the body, sudden confusion, difficulty seeing, sudden vision changes, sudden difficulty with coordination, or sudden severe, unexplained headache.

Eyelid twitch usually goes away on its own. Seek prompt medical care if it does not resolve within a week, if eyelid twitch closes your eye completely or involves other parts of your face, if you have facial paralysis or partial facial paralysis, if your upper eyelid droops, or if you experience discharge, redness, and swelling in or around the eye.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with eyelid twitch?

Eyelid twitch may accompany other symptoms, which will vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the eye may also involve other body systems.... Read more about eyelid twitchsymptoms

CAUSES

What causes eyelid twitch?

The most common causes of eyelid twitch are caffeine, fatigue, anxiety and stress. Eyelid twitch may appear in response to irritation caused by smoke, dust, or a foreign body in the eye. Allergies and infections may also cause irritation that leads to twitching. Eyelid twitch may also be a symptom of neurologic disorders such as facial tics, chronic or transient motor tic disorders, attention-deficit disorder, or more serious conditions such as stroke, dystonia, tardive (slow or belated onset) dyskinesia, Tourette’s syndrome, or Aicardi syndrome (rare organic brain disorder acquired in early childhood).... Read more about eyelid twitchcauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Eyes and Vision


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