Q:

What causes an eye to pulsate?

A:

Quick Answer

Causes of a pulsating eye include eye infections or irritation, lack of sleep and fatigue and stress, Healthline states. In most cases, eyelid pulsation does not indicate that there is a serious underlying disorder.

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Full Answer

It is not always possible to determine the cause of a pulsating eye. However, some states make it more likely to happen:

  • Eye infections and irritation
  • Not sleeping enough and feeling fatigued
  • Physical exertion
  • Certain medications
  • Stress
  • Consuming coffee, alcohol or tobacco

When the spasms are chronic, certain conditions can make them worse:

  • Infections like conjunctivitis or blepharitis
  • Having dry eyes or being exposed to environmental irritants, like wind and air pollution, as well as light sensitivity
  • Fatigue
  • Stress

It is rare that a pulsating eye arises because of a serious condition. If it does, there are other symptoms accompanying it that indicate what the condition is. Such conditions include:

  • Bell's palsy
  • Dystonia, which is a condition that causes muscles to distort
  • Cervical dystonia, which causes the neck to spasm, and can make the head contort into uncomfortable positions
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Tourette's syndrome

Chronic benign essential blepharospasm is the clinical term for eyes that pulsate regularly. It affects around one in 30,000 adults in the U.S. and is usually diagnosed in middle to late adulthood. Patients who experience their eye pulsating alongside other unusual signs should consult a physician.

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