The Real Reason Your Eye Is Twitching

Are you ever sitting there, minding your own business, when your eye starts twitching uncontrollably? It may be a minor annoyance, but it may be bad enough that it interferes with your vision. Eye twitching comes in many shapes and forms, but most commonly, people will have an occasional twitch, especially when they are tired. According to Cedars Sinai, it can affect anyone, but it tends to be more common in middle-aged and elderly women. And if you're superstitious, Trinidadians believe that if your right eye jumps, someone is speaking well of you and if your left eye jumps, someone is speaking badly of you (via Scientific American). 

Your eye twitching is pretty common

"Myokymia" is the medical term for an eyelid twitch, which is a repetitive, involuntary spasm (via Healthline). Typically twitches occur in the upper lid but they can happen in both upper and lower lids. For most people, the twitch is simply annoying but for others, the spasm can cause both eyes to close completely. This is something called blepharospasm. 

Eye surgeon Mark Blecher, M.D., told SELF that eye twitching is very common. He explained, "It can happen several times in a row and then stops, and for some people it can happen again later on that same day." 

Eye twitching can be caused by fatigue, alcohol intake, bright lights, caffeine, irritation of the eye, smoking, eye strain, stress, or wind and air pollution (via Mayo Clinic). Approximately 20,000 to 50,000 people (via CooperVision) have benign essential blepharospam (BEB), a chronic eye twitch that causes uncontrollable blinking (via Genetics Home Reference). Researchers aren't sure what causes BEB, but it could have to do with issues with muscles around the eyes or having certain genes (via Cedars Sinai). 

There are some simple remedies for eye twitching

For some symptoms, proper sleep, yoga, and abstaining from smoking and alcohol can eliminate any twitching. For tougher twitches that won't go away, Botox is recommended, as the injections can help stop muscle contractions (via All About Vision).

Most eye twitching is harmless, but if the twitching persists it can mean something more serious is going on. You should see a medical professional for eye twitching if you experience ongoing twitching (more than a few days), there is obvious irritation with the eye, the eyelids are swollen, or you have difficulty opening your eye (via Mayo Clinic).

Keeping track of the twitches and figuring out what could be causing the annoyance is the best remedy. Once you realize it happens when you drink too much caffeine or don't get enough sleep, you can begin working on solving the issue without medical intervention. For persistent twitches, though, make an appointment and get it checked out just to be on the safe side.