What Does It Mean When Your Eye Twitches?

Updated on May 14, 2017
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Edmund has spent the last ten years working in clinical research. He has written many articles on human anatomy and physiology.

What does it mean when your eye twitches?
What does it mean when your eye twitches?

If you've ever had a twitchy eyelid then you probably know how annoying and embarrassing it can be. I once had an incident of twitching eyelid during an interview and another during a date. The twitching lasted several minutes—and on both occasions I did my best to ignore it.

An eyelid twitch is an involuntary spasm of the eyelid muscles occurring approximately every two seconds. It usually last for a couple of minutes before vanishing on its own. Severe cases however, can last several days or even weeks.

Is it the eyelid or the eyeball that's twitching?

It's the eyelid that's twitching, not the whole eyeball. In some cases, the twitching can be powerful enough to force the eye to shut completely, only allowing it to reopen between twitches.

The human eyelid is packed with fast twitch muscle fibers. When a health issue arises, these fast twitch muscle fibers will contract erratically, leading to continuous rippling movements of the eyelid. One of these movements is called an eyelid twitch.

Watch Ashley's left eye twitching

The fancy name ...

The medical term for this condition is "myokymia."


Have you ever had a twitchy eyelid?

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From a superstition standpoint, there is a lot of meaning behind a twitchy eyelid. It can be a good or a bad omen depending on which eye is involved, the person's culture and geographical location.

In India, the traditional belief is that a left eyelid twitch brings bad luck. In China, on the other hand, a left eyelid twitch is a portent of good fortune for men. For a Chinese woman, a right eyelid twitch is a sign that something good is about to happen, whereas a left eyelid twitch brings bad luck.

Now that you've had your dose of superstition for the day, let look at the scientific reasons behind twitchy eyelids. There are at least 10 things that can cause an eyelid to twitch.

Scientific Reasons and Remedies for Eye Twitching

1. Stress

Stress increases your chances of getting a twitchy eyelid. Consider taking a yoga class, it might be just what you need to manage your stress. In addition, avoid stress as much as possible. Try to calm down and relax when it is time to do so.

Eyes do get tired
Eyes do get tired

2. Lack of Sleep

Sleep deprivation will make you grumpy and probably cause one or both of your eyelids to twitch. Make sure you get enough sleep to give your muscles the chance to relax. That should spare your eyelids some twitching.

3. Fatigue

Putting in too many hours at work can stress you out as well. This will not only affect your ability to function and interact with others, but can also give you frequent eyelid twitches. Give yourself a well deserved break whenever necessary.

4. Caffeine

Another reason to cut down on coffee
Another reason to cut down on coffee

Too much caffeine intake has been linked to eyelid twitch. Experts believe that stimulants in caffeine products can trigger the twitching. Consider reducing your daily intake if you think caffeine might be the cause of your eyelid twitching.

5. Eye Strain

Eye strain accompanied by eyelid twitching is a common problem for people who spend all day in front of a computer. If you have to use the computer all day, take frequent short breaks to rest your eyes.

Eye strain can also be due to underlying problems like long- and short-sightedness. Talk to your eye doctor if you constantly suffer from eye strain.

6. Dry Eye

A complete tear film consists of different essential components. An imbalance in one or more of these components causes dry eye and potentially twitchy eyelids. A tear film imbalance can be caused by a bacterial infection or a buildup of deposit inside the eye. If you think you've suffered prolonged dry eyes, it is worth telling your doctor.

7. Electrolyte Imbalance

Electrolytes are minerals that affect a lot of what goes on in the body, including muscle function of the eyelid. An electrolyte imbalance can cause persistent eyelid twitch. Fortunately, it can be easily fixed with a daily glass of an electrolyte drink or supplement.

8. Inturned Eyelash

An inturned eyelash comes with several uncomfortable symptoms including the involuntary twitching of the eyelid due to a foreign body sensation. An effective measure to relief the symptoms of an inturned eyelash is by using an adhesive tape; but leave this task to your GP.

9. New Eyeglasses

Many people experience eyelid twitching after a change in their eyeglass prescription. This happens during the time it takes for their eye muscles to adjust to the new glasses. The twitching usually subsides on its own. If the twitching doesn't stop on its own then there is probably something else going on -- get your GP to investigate.

10. Alcohol

A twitchy eyelid is probably the least severe of all the harmful effects of excessive alcohol consumption. If alcohol is the trigger to your eyelid twitch then cut down on your alcohol consumption for the sake of your eyes, and all the other organs.

Remedies for Eye Twitching

Don’t get too alarmed by your twitching eyelid. Most incidences are benign; usually not associated with any neurological problem. Calm down, relax and your eyelid will probably get back to normal on its own.

Common factors known to trigger this event include stress, tiredness, eye strain, excessive caffeine, dry eye and electrolyte imbalance. Rule out these factors one at a time if you have intermittent eyelid twitch. Talk about it with your doctor if the situation persists, to investigate the possibility of a more serious underlying cause.

If the twitching becomes more severe than you can withstand, there are medications that can be administered to treat the condition.

As strange as it may sound to many, Botox is an approved treatment for eyelid twitch. It is a well known treatment for muscle spasms.

How does Botox work in treating eyelid twitching?

The Botox injection paralyzes muscles of the targeted area and stops them from twitching.

Just like any other medication, Botox can have side effects such as inability to close the eyelids. Make sure you are well informed before you go down that road.

It takes skills to hit the target with a needle, make sure the guy standing above you is qualified to do the job.

Finally, find and eliminate the underlying cause of your eyelid twitch rather than exclusively relying on Botox to alleviate your eyelid twitching.


  • http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000756.htm
  • https://www.nei.nih.gov/health/blepha/blepharospasm

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


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    • Sneha Sunny profile image

      Sneha Sunny 

      22 months ago from India

      I didn't know that there can be this many causes of eye twitch. I very rarely get them. This time I will try to notice the cause; if it's stress or dry eye or something else.

      This was new information for me. Thanks for sharing!

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      I have had that experience but very rarely. Interesting....I might belong to the people who spend all day in front of a computer. Sometimes 8 hours!

    • Jasmeetk profile image

      Jasmeet Kaur 

      5 years ago from India

      found your hub useful... voted up!!


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