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Alternative Names Return to topEyelid spasm; Eye twitch; Twitch - eyelid
Definition Return to topAn eyelid twitch is a general term for involuntary spasms of the eyelid muscles. In some instances, the eyelid may repeatedly close (or nearly close) and re-open.This article discusses eyelid twitches in general.
Causes Return to top
The most common things that make the muscle in your eyelid twitch are fatigue, stress, and caffeine. Once spasms begin, they may continue off and on for a few days. Then, they disappear. Most people experience this type of eyelid twitch on occasion and find it very annoying. In most cases, you won't even notice when the twitch has stopped.
More severe contractions, where the eyelid completely closes, are possible. These can be caused by irritation of the surface of the eye (cornea) or the membranes lining the eyelids (conjunctiva).
Sometimes, the reason your eyelid is twitching cannot be identified. This form of eyelid twitching lasts much longer, is often very uncomfortable, and can also cause your eyelids to close completely.
Symptoms Return to topIn addition to having repetitive, uncontrollable twitching or spasms of your eyelid (usually the upper lid), you may be very sensitive to light or have blurry vision.
Treatment Return to top
Eyelid twitching usually disappears without treatment. In the meantime, the following steps may help:
If twitching is severe, small injections of botulinum toxin can temporarily cure the spasms.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The outlook depends on the specific type or cause of eyelid twitch. In some cases, the twitches usually stop within a week.
Possible Complications Return to top
Permanent eye injury from unrecognized cornea injury is possible, but rare.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your primary care doctor or eye doctor (ophthalmologist) if:
References Return to top
Faucett DC. Essential blepharospasm. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, Augsburger JJ, et al, eds. Ophthalmology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2004: chap 91.Update Date: 11/10/2008 Updated by: Linda Vorvick, MD, Family Physician, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.