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Eye twitches, medically defined as “involuntary spasm of the muscles of the eyelids”, are one of the most common eyes related issues. But what is the stimulus that triggers these? What does it mean when your eye twitch? Why does the eye twitch and what is the treatment to handle these uncontrolled spasmatic movements? Such are the questions that usually arise in the minds of all those patients who suffer from eye twitches quite often.
Myokymia is the term that was used the first time in order to describe the state of fascicular, very fine, minute contractions of muscles without any apparent weakness or deterioration. Eyelid Myokymia is the coined terminology, mostly used to describe the twitching of eyes by the medical professionals.
Having put the superstitious and all the other aspects being made up on absurd basis aside, to experience twitches in the eyes is usually a state that needs to be addressed medically by a professional ophthalmologist and/or an eye specialist, if it extends for a longer period because it may get severe, worsening the situation and leading to more serious eye problems.
What exactly is an eye-twitch?
An eye-twitch is:“a spasm or an act of contraction in the muscles of eyelids mostly. They can happen without any cause in some cases, whereas in others; there might be some underlying pathology that needs to be ruled out. The spasms are involuntary, not in one’s control, usually rapid and quite often repetitive in nature.”
It is an uncomfortable condition and mostly ends up irritating the patient making him wonder about the most likely causes that can go behind it. It is usually benign, not related to any dangerous consequence and mostly a self-limiting issue. In a lot of patients, the problem resolves on its own within a matter of days and no medical intervention or help would be needed. But if the state persists, it might be an alarming situation for the sufferer in the future.
Causes of eye twitching:
Mostly the cause for twitching of the eyes is not clear in routine cases that come up to the surface. There is no defined reason behind these involuntary movements. However, an investigation is always suggested in order to make sure there is no pathology involved since these could be one of the most initial symptoms of a bigger, hidden disease.
- Stress, severe physical exercise or exertion and fatigue are the most common causes associated with it. The extreme of work can cause the eye muscles and the fibers in eyelids to get exhausted and hence, it will end up in rapid eyelid movements.
- Xerophthalmia or dry eyes is the condition where conjunctiva and cornea of the eyes get dry at an abnormal level. This might be related to another underlying disease but the dryness of eyes that comes, as a result, can lead to twitching and severe contraction of the muscles of the eyelids. It can either involve some of the muscle fibers of the entire bundle.
- Computer/laptop-induced eye strains and lack of sleep or not getting sufficient sleep are two of the other very important and common causes.
- Eye allergies of various kinds can also lead to the twitching of your eyes.
- One of the most important causes is the neuromuscular disorders. They include a variety of syndromes and diseases.
- Hemi facial spasm is one of the above-mentioned disorders. It involves spasm of the muscles around the eye, mouth and on one side of the face. It might as well lead to the twitching of muscles of eyelids.
- Multiple sclerosis is another disorder that involves the damage to the insulating covers of the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. It also causes spasm of eye muscles.
- Blepharospasm is a focal cranial dystonia that results in prolonged, forced and involuntary tight closing of the eyelids.
- Meige syndrome is another neurological disorder that is characterized by severe, forceful contractions of the muscles of face and jaw and also the spasm of the eye muscles.
These are all the possible causes that can be considered contributing to eye twitching, although mostly, it doesn’t have any defined reason and stays for a short while.
As Signs and symptoms:
Eye twitching usually appears as a solitary pathology with no apparent cause but in some cases, it is one of the signs and symptoms of a more severe disorder that underlies in the body.
The spasm of the muscles of the eyelids and eyes is related to most of the nervous syndromes and diseases. In some cases, it can also happen due to musculoskeletal disorders where there is atrophy of the muscles.
The very common neurological disorders related to the involuntary spasm of optical muscles can be Tourette syndrome, Bell’s palsy, oromandibular dystonia, facial dystonia, transient ischemic attack or mini-stroke and cervical dystonia.
It can also result as a side effect of the use of certain drugs, particularly the anti-epileptic and anti-psychotic drugs. Chronic use of these drugs can cause the spasm of the muscles leading to a continuous twitch in the eyes which is rapid, spontaneous and most of the times very repetitive.
What does it mean when your right eye twitch?
There are many assumptions and superstitions related to the twitching of eyes in different regions. The various beliefs regard the twitching of certain eye at a certain time with various outcomes. Where these beliefs may or may not keep any ground reality, they can not be fully disregarded and before going into the medical aspects, considering some of them would elaborate the concept to the readers.
The right eye twitching superstitions are as follows.
According to Chinese, the twitching of the right eye brings along news of invites to parties, positivity, joy and goodwill. At certain times, the meaning changes accordingly. Sometimes, these could be all the good news while if the same situation is seen at other times of the day, it could also be an indication of the upcoming injury, a disaster, a fight or a severe/hard phase.
Indians like to believe that the right eye twitching is a good omen and it brings along it, the good news of success, happiness and joy.
Africans are also of the belief that right eye twitching is an indication to all the happy and positive vibes.
People of Hawaii are of the impression that when the right eye twitches it shows that a child is going to come in the family and hence it is an omen to birth and life, thus, a good sign.
The medical aspects are as follows.
However, in terms of medical aspects, the consecutive twitching of right eye for more than three days along with any discharge, fluids and that of the spasm of the facial muscles is not a good sign and must be taken as an indication to seek immediate medical help. It happens either as a result of muscular involvement or any nervous disorder and must be addressed accordingly to rule out the definitive cause.
The involved muscle is usually the orbicularis oculi along with the lateral and medial palpebral ligaments.
The optical nerve and facial nerve are mostly affected and may come out as the typical sign of “nerve jump”.
What does it mean when your left eye twitch?
Just like the right eye, many races and regions believe that the twitching of the left eye brings along certain assumptions along itself as well.
The left eye twitching superstitions are stated below.
Chinese like to believe differently at different times of the day. While at a certain chunk, they intend to believe that the contraction of the left eye signifies the coming of a distant friend, a dine out and a feast, at other times it shows, a worry, a bad omen and a trouble.
Indians are a bit more cautious regarding this and they tend to believe that the left eye twitch is a bad omen.
Africans also follow the footsteps of Indians and are of the belief that the twitching of the left eye is usually an indicative of the upcoming bad luck or harder phase. It serves as a heads-up in that regard.
Hawaii is the land of those who intend to believe that the contractions of the left eye mean a looming death in the family.
The medical aspects are presented below.
If the twitching continues for around 5/6 days constantly so much that the eyelids are unable to be closed; one must seek medical help to investigate the situation.
Indicating an emergency:
The following points stated below represent a checklist to indicate whether the twitching of eyes is severe and might end up in an emergency or not.
- The eyes are red and swollen.
- There is a continuous discharge from the eyes.
- The upper eyelid is drooping down.
- The spasmatic contractions continue over weeks.
- Weakness felt around the mouth or in other parts of the face.
- Twitching accompanied by dizziness, nausea or vertigo.If any of these points are fulfilled by the look of your situation, emergency help must be taken since they are an indicative of severe underlying pathology.
Treatment options available:
Now the questions arise how to treat the twitching or eyes? It there a permanent cure to these involuntary movements or not?
The answer is yes. The spasmatic contractions can be very easily treated by a number of options available.
The simpler options present that could be achieved by few changes in the lifestyle are;
- Take adequate sleep.
- Save your eyes from dust.
- Drink less caffeine.
- Avoid a lot of anxiety and burden.
- Give rest to the eyes while working on a computer for longer hours.
Other ways to treat this condition are;
In order to calm the muscle down, apply a warm compression. It might be later on alternated with a cold pressing.
Give a gentle massage to your eyelids. It will help in relieving the spasm and may end up relaxing the tensed fibers.
Get an acupuncture process done. It has been proved very fruitful in treating such conditions.
Face steam is also one of the options available. It will help in relaxing the muscles and relieving the stress. The stress is gone and the spasm ends.
If the eye twitching is linked to any neuromuscular or neurological disorder, proper investigation to accurately diagnose the condition and then treating the baseline condition is a must in order to get relief.
If it is due to the usage of the drugs, any alternative drugs can be taken instead of the actual ones to treat the condition.
Biofeedback, yoga, meditation, surgery, hypnosis and psychotherapy are also some of the treatment options available.
The treatment depends on the cause and the severity of the condition as well.
Few of the simpler ways in order to prevent the eye twitching by making some changes are as follows:
- Go to bed earlier. Enough sleep and rest to the eyes are two of the most important keys to be saved from the twitching of the eyes.
- Avoid a lot of tea and coffee. These are the two easily available sources of caffeine and over consumption is forbidden.
- Avoid tobacco, alcohol and other kinds of addiction.
- Include fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet.
- Make sure the vitamins and supplements are taken regularly.
- Have a balanced diet.
- Any sight issue must be checked regularly to notice the changes and track them religiously.
- Regular meditation and yoga are necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Any neurological disorder must be checked on time.
Eyes are a blessing, you must take care of them!