Doctors have warned that even an occasional eye twitch could be a sign of a larger problem, made worse by caffeine and lack of sleep.
Most people have struggled with an itchy, twitching eye at some point – or maybe even two twitching eyes at the same time.
By definition, twitching is an abnormal spasm of the eye muscles that can occur several times a day.
Eye twitching can negatively affect your vision and increase eye fatigue, but rarely causes serious health problems.
Although doctors don’t know exactly what causes these muscle spasms to develop, they do know which diseases and disorders are most commonly associated with the symptom Experts | at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Health.
Serious medical conditions that can be indicated by an eye twitch include:
- Bell’s palsy
- Brain damage from inflammation or a stroke
- semi-facial spasm
- Meige syndrome
- multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Response to certain mental health medications
When a doctor suspects one of these more serious health conditions, other symptoms are often present as well.
Eye spasms are often accompanied by these other eye symptoms:
- facial spasms
- Increased blinking
- sensitivity to light
- vision problems
Doctors believe that twitches could be related to problems with the basal ganglia in the brain or to a person’s individual gene expression.
Many patients report eye twitching due to fatigue, stress, or other eye irritation, sometimes due to driving, bright lights, and caffeine consumption.
To diagnose the cause of eye twitching, a healthcare provider specializing in eye disorders should be consulted – usually an ophthalmologist – performs a physical exam and asks about your medical history.
If the doctor thinks it’s something other than benign blepharospasm or hemifacial spasm, they may order a CT or MRI scan to further investigate other possible causes.
Eye twitching can affect anyone, but it most commonly affects older and middle-aged women.
People who suffer from eye twitching have reported that certain behaviors, such as getting some sleep or focusing on another task, can help relieve their spasms.
It is recommended that anyone experiencing eye spasms see their doctor for diagnosis and possible treatment.