Fact: A twitchy eye is freaking annoying. But what’s really going on when your eye won’t stop spazzing?
Well, eye twitches are basically a spasm caused by a nerve in the eye muscle that’s under stress, says Hannah Yecheskel, doctor of optometry and founder of All Eyes on Rockville, a practice specializing in advanced eye care and boutique eyewear in Washington, D.C. “The eyelids themselves are very delicate, so the muscles are susceptible to different types of effects,” adds eye surgeon Brian Boxer Wachler, M.D.
Usually, this will go away on it’s own, but if your eyelid won’t stop vibrating, try pinpointing the cause so you can change your behavior. Here are six common reasons why your eye won’t stop bugging out.
1. You’re Drinking Too Much Caffeine
Your coffee habit could be the cause of your eye twitch. Caffeine’s stimulant properties can hike up your heart rate and metabolism, and get your muscles worked up, resulting in a jittery eye, says Yecheskel. “It’s probably because it’s stimulating that muscle, which is more susceptible to too much caffeine versus other types of muscles,” says Wachler. There’s no specific amount of caffeine that causes twitching, but if you’re concerned, cutting back will minimize the effect. (Kick-start your new, healthy routine with Women’s Health’s 12-Week Head-to-Toe Transformation!)
2. You’re Stressed
Your body reacts to stress is many ways, and an eye twitch is just one of them. “It’s a sign that something is a little too much for your body to take,” says Yecheskel. If that’s the case, then figuring out what’s making you stressed—and fixing it with your favorite de-stressing method (think: yoga)—should help alleviate the problem.
3. You Have Allergies
When you have an allergy, it releases histamine into your system, causing your body to react in different ways. An eye twitch is a common reaction, similar to puffiness and itchiness around that area. Try an oral histamine eye drop (which you can get OTC) to temporarily relieve the eye twich, says Yecheskel.
4. You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep
Your eyelids are one of the most sensitive muscles on your body, so the tiniest imbalance can throw them off—and that includes not getting an adequate amount of shut eye. When this happens, your eyes will feel tired and the muscles will twitch, says Yecheskel. The answer is obvious: Try to hit the hay a little earlier, and aim for eight hours of snoozing a night.
5. You Need to Change Your Glasses Prescription
If you find yourself twitching while reading a book or on the computer, it could be a sign that you need to up your prescription. That’s because your eye muscles are working extra hard to focus, says Yecheskel. A quick trip to the eye doctor will help correct this.
While this is pretty uncommon, it does happen. You should talk to your doc to eliminate any other potential causes, but if nothing seems to fit, it might be time to get blood work done. Your eye doctor will then determine if you need to see a neuro-opthamologist, says Yecheskel. They specialize in the link between visual problems and the brain and will be able to run tests to find out what’s going on.
If your twitching just won’t quit, Yecheskel suggests getting a Botox injection to stop it. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Botox is FDA-approved to treat eyelid spasms. It freezes the nerve in place to stop the muscle from spazzing out and lasts for three months.
|From Women’s health