Many of us have experienced an involuntary eyelid spasm but didn’t give it much thought. These eyelid spasms, or twitches, are a repetitive and involuntary spasm of the muscles in the eyelids. The twitch most frequently occurs in the upper eyelid, but can occasionally occur in both upper and lower eyelids.
The twitch sensation is generally painless and harmless. It can be caused by several factors and rarely indicates a more serious underlying condition. One condition, however, that can contribute to eyelid twitching is dry eye syndrome (DES). Below, we’ll briefly explain DES and how it can trigger eyelid twitching.
What Is DES?
Dry eye syndrome is characterized by the chronic lack of sufficient ocular lubrication and can be caused by allergies, irritants, and insufficient or poor quality tears. Some symptoms of dry eye include:
- Dry, irritated eyes
- Watery eyes
- Blurry vision
- Stinging or burning sensation
If you suspect you have DES or experience any of the above symptoms, speak with Dr. Selena Chan about finding relief and regaining the quality of life you seek.
How Is Eyelid Twitching Related To DES?
When the eyes lack lubrication, the nervous system compensates by increasing the eyes’ blink rate to try and refresh the tear film. If the brain sends too many signals to increase the blink rate, the eyelid’s muscles may begin to twitch due to the overload of signals fired from the brain. Eventually, as the eyelid muscles become more fatigued from the excess blinking, twitching becomes more noticeable and irritating.
What Can Be Done To Ease Symptoms?
Eyelid twitching can be bothersome and can even interfere with performing daily tasks. Though twitching episodes usually subside after a minute or two, there are some steps you can take to shorten their duration or eliminate them altogether.
Try using lubricating eye drops to bring some moisture back to your eyes, thus reducing the signals sent to the nervous system to increase the blink rate. Dr. Selena Chan can recommend which over-the-counter drops best suit your eyes’ needs, or prescribe more potent eye drops.
Try gently massaging your closed upper eyelids to suppress the twitching when it occurs. The light pressure can help relax the surrounding muscles. You can also apply a warm eye compress when the lid is twitching or whenever your eyes feel irritated.
Additionally, if you experience twitching or cramping in other muscles, such as in your legs, taking some magnesium may help reduce the frequency of the spasms.
How We Can Help
Mild eyelid spasms and twitches are generally not something to be concerned about, unless they are prolonged, frequent, or distract you from your normal routine. At The Dry Eye Center at Pacific Rims Optometry, we aim to provide you with relief from any dry eye symptoms using the latest treatments available. If you or a loved one suffer from eye twitches or any other DES symptoms, let us help you manage your ocular condition for a lifetime of clear and comfortable vision.
The Dry Eye Center at Pacific Rims Optometry provides dry eye relief and other services to patients from San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, San Mateo, and California.