If Your Eye Is Twitching, Here’s What It Could Mean

It's not actually your eye twitching but the muscles of your eyelid. From lack of sleep to stress to dehydration, here are some possible causes.

eye close upAndrey_Popov/ShutterstockWhat is eye twitching?

Despite the name, your eye isn’t actually moving at all. It’s that pesky eyelid. Eyelid twitching is pretty common and usually nothing to worry about, according to Dr. Ming Wang, PhD, Wang Vision 3D Cataract & LASIK Center. The condition of temporary or long-term eye twitching is called eyelid myokymia and it is the result of an involuntary misfiring of the neurons that stimulate your eyelid muscles.

What causes eye twitching?

There are several common reasons that your eyelids are twitching.

  • Stress
  • Excess caffeine
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue
  • Eye strain
  • Alcohol
  • Dry eye
  • Nutrition problems
  • Allergies

“Very rarely, eye twitching can be a sign of certain brain and nerve disorders,” says Dr. Hardik Soni, MD, Founder and Medical Director of Ethos Spa. “But then the twitch is accompanied by other signs and symptoms. Look for medical help if the twitching persists for a long time (one to three weeks), twitching occurs in other parts of the face, and the eyes are red, swollen, or have a discharge.”

How to stop your eye from twitching?

The obvious answer is to address the potential causes of eye twitching to see if it helps. Get more sleep, cut back on caffeine, keep your eyes hydrated with drops, and do what you can to reduce stress. Some home remedies include drinking a five-ounce glass of tonic water or holding a cool—or warm—compress to your eyes. A more extreme approach involves Botox, says Dr. Wang, but he recommends against drastic measures since the condition generally resolves itself on its own.

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Isabel Roy
Isabel Roy is a former newsletter editor at Reader’s Digest who writes and reports on home, culture and general interest stories. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse in 2017 with a B.A. in Rhetoric and Writing.