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Why Does My Eye Twitch When I Sneeze?

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I have worked in the human services field since 1996, as a direct care staff and an instructor to children and adults with disabilities.

Is it normal for your eye to twitch after sneezing?

Is it normal for your eye to twitch after sneezing?

Should You Worry About an Eyelid Twitch?

Does your eye begin to twitch when you sneeze? Maybe it happens often, or maybe it's just occasional. If so, you've probably wondered why this happens and whether it might even be a cause for concern.

Generally, it is not a cause for concern. In fact, experiencing an eye twitch after sneezing is relatively common. However, if eye twitching is very persistent, there might be an underlying cause that needs some kind of treatment.

Eye Twitching Causes

Here we will explore why a sneeze might trigger spasms in the eyelid along with some of the causes of eye twitching in general.

Compensating Muscles

Basically, when you sneeze you use a lot of muscles all at once. To compensate for the force and exertion of a sneeze, the body might use other muscles besides the ones used in the sneeze. It is similar to how the muscles in your face tense up when you lift something heavy.

Therefore, in an effort to stabilize itself, the body uses the muscles in the eye to deal with the exertion of all of the muscles involved in a sneeze.

Blepharospasm

Blepharospasm is an involuntary blinking or twitching of the eye. Small, local involuntary twitching of muscles is generally called fasciculation. There are many possible causes of this kind of spasm.

  • Myasthenia is an autoimmune disease that causes muscle weakness and can be aggravated due to stress, overexertion, lack of sleep, extreme heat, some medications, or deficiencies in nutrients. This condition basically blocks nerve and muscle signals and can cause twitching in the eyelid muscles.
  • Medications used to treat psychosis or neurological disorders can cause spasms in the eye.
  • Pressure on nerves due to such things as neck and back problems can affect the muscles in the eyelid and make them twitch.
  • Hashimoto's disease, hypothyroidism, and other metabolic disorders (that are the result of an under-active thyroid) can sometimes cause eye twitches.
  • Hemifacial spasm is a neurological disorder that causes involuntary contractions of muscles on one side of the face.

Other Reasons for Eye Twitching

There are even more reasons your eye might twitch beyond the medical explanations listed above. Everyday lifestyle factors, like the ones listed below, could trigger eye twitching.

  • Pinched nerve
  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Coffee or alcohol consumption
  • Bacteria in eye
  • Overstimulation
The body is forcefully exerted during a sneeze.

The body is forcefully exerted during a sneeze.

Is a Twitching Eye Cause for Alarm?

There are many factors to consider in determining why your eyelid muscles might contract during a sneeze; it is not necessarily indicative of a serious condition. As stated, it could be a pinched nerve, stress, or lack of sleep. In addition, excessive amounts of coffee or alcohol have been known to cause these spasms as well.

Another possibility—especially considering that sneezes are meant to expel germs—is that normal bacteria gathered in the eye throughout the day are disturbed during a sneeze. The disruption then causes the eye to twitch.

Then, there's the trigeminal ganglion to consider. Scientifically speaking, the optic nerve is connected to the trigeminal ganglion, which sends sensation signals to the nose. It is possible that the two communicate in a way that triggers spasms in the eyelid.

Finally, the visual cortex in some people is simply more sensitive and causes twitches in the eye after something as overstimulating as a sneeze. Find out more in the video below.

Most Likely a Harmless Body Quirk

It seems the most reasonable explanation for eye twitching after a sneeze is just the forceful exertion of muscles during the sneeze. Ancillary muscles take part in balancing the body after such a major muscular event and begin to spasm.

Sources

Lorra Garrick | Last updated 05/20, & Patwardhan, M. reviewed by R. (2020, May 13). Why does my eyelid twitch after I sneeze? Scary Symptoms. https://scarysymptoms.com/2012/01/why-does-my-eyelid-twitch-after-i/.

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, January 16). Eye twitching causes. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/eye-twitching/basics/causes/sym-20050838.

Person. (2018, August 6). Eyelid Twitch: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/eyelid-twitch.

Trigeminal ganglion. Trigeminal Ganglion—an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (n.d.). https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/trigeminal-ganglion.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Blepharospasm. National Eye Institute. https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/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.

© 2015 NathaNater

Comments

NathaNater (author) on February 28, 2015:

Thanks, dejvimanushi. Glad you liked it and glad you stopped by.

Dejvi Manushi from Albania on February 28, 2015:

This is a very interesting article. I carefully read every single word of it. Small things like eye twitching during sneeze is a unique kind of information that is not read everyday. Well done.

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