Why does an eyelid twitch?


Quick Answer

WebMD states that minor eye twitching can be caused by fatigue, stress or caffeine. More serious cases of eye twitching are caused by eyelid inflammation, light sensitivity, dry eyes and pinkeye, along with brain or nerve disorders such as Bell’s palsy, dystonia, Tourette's syndrome or Parkinson's disease. Drugs that treat epilepsy and psychosis often also cause eyelid twitching.

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Full Answer

According to WebMD, eyelid twitches range from occasional to frequent spasms throughout the day to persistent eye twitching that causes severe vision impairment. Medical consultation is advised if twitching lasts more than a week, the twitches completely close an eyelid, or redness, swelling or discharge appears in an eye.

Benign essential blepharospasm causes eyelid twitching in about 20,000 to 50,000 Americans and typically appears in middle adulthood, according to WebMD. This condition is initially brought on by stress, fatigue or environmental irritants, but it worsens to cause blurry vision, facial spasms and a sensitivity to light. In severe cases, the eyelids stay closed for hours. There is no cure for blepharospasm. The typical treatment is repeated botulinum toxin injections and medications such as clonazepam, lorazepam or trihexyphenidyl for short-term relief.

WebMD indicates that a rarer cause of eyelid twitching that also affects muscles around the mouth is hemifacial spasm. This condition is caused by an artery pressing on facial muscle nerves, and surgery generally successfully treats it.

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