Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eye twitching

Eye twitching is a very common complaint voiced by my patients at our West Los Angeles office. Patients report irregular and random twitching of the upper and lower eyelids. Typically, the patient feels the twitch and looks in the mirror and cannot see that much movement in the eyelids. So, why is this happening and what are the causes and the treatment???

The technical description for this is "myokymia". In most cases it is due to a muscle fiber in the eyelid just randomly firing. This creates the twitch. This is the same phenomenon that occurs when you are sitting down and notice a twitch in a muscle of the legs. There are these twitches ongoing all over your body most of the time, but they are usually not noticed. When this happens in your eyelid it is more noticeable.

The causes of this condition have been attributed to stress, need for a new eyeglasses prescription, eyestrain, not getting enough sleep, drinking too much coffee and on and on. What can you do to stop the twitching? Most of the time the twitching stops after a period of time. I remember having the problem and having it last almost a month before it stopped. This is quite common. There were some reports that using a topical antihistamine eyedrop was helpful, but I have not seen this documented lately. The most important thing is to not worry about an eyelid twitch, but to have your eyes examined to make sure that your eyeglasses prescription is correct and to rule out any more serious causes.

The eyelid twitch is not to be confused with a blepharospasm. In the blepharospasm, there is a forced closure of the eyelids. This is a more serious and more troublesome event. The bottom line: Get checked out by your eye doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

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