CALL US TODAY! 360-652-4543

!Contact Icons


!Book an Appointment Button

!Call Us Today! Button

When Is Eye Twitching Serious?

January 1 2022

Most everyone has experienced an eye twitch or spasm that goes away on its own at some point in their life. When eye spasms persist over long periods, something else more serious may be causing it. In this post, a Marysville, WA optometrist talks about eye twitches, their causes, and how to tell when it’s time for an eye exam.

What Is an Eye Twitch?

An eye twitch involves an involuntary spasm or movement of your eyelid that can’t be controlled. It usually happens in the upper eyelid where your lid may move every few seconds for a minute or two. A twitch can happen several times throughout the day or just once a twice. In severe cases, repeated twitching can interfere with your vision.

In general, there are three main types of involuntary eye spasms:

Myokymia – the most common form, typically only affects one eye, and usually goes away after a few days

Blepharospasm- affects both eyes and can progress to the point where daily activities, such as reading and driving, become difficult

Hemifacial – usually affects just one eye but spasms can spread to all the facial muscles on the same side of the face as the affected eye

What Can Cause It?

Stress, exhaustion, and having too much caffeine are the most common causes of eye twitching. People with a history of head injury, have an increased risk of developing an eye spasm. If the condition runs in your family, you may also be at greater risk.

Here are a few other things that can cause involuntary eye spasms:

  • Bright lights
  • Something irritating the eyelids or eye surface
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Dry eyes
  • Scratched cornea
  • Inflamed eyelid

When Should I See My Eye Doctor About It?

While most cases of eye twitching tend to go away on their own, if it reaches the point where it’s affecting your quality of life, something more serious than stress or exhaustion may be the cause. If an eye twitch persists for weeks or months or becomes particularly bothersome, it may be time to schedule an appointment with your optometrist.

When one or more of the following symptoms accompanies eye twitching, it’s time to call your eye doctor:

  • Your eyelid closes with each twitch
  • Your eyelids start to droop
  • It’s difficult to open the affected eye
  • Your eye produces discharge or appears red or swollen
  • Your vision is compromised

Our Advice on When Is Eye Twitching Serious in 2024

What is an eye twitch, and how does it manifest?

An eye twitch, medically known as myokymia, is an involuntary spasm or contraction of the eyelid muscles. It predominantly affects the upper eyelid, causing it to flutter or twitch uncontrollably, often for a few seconds to a minute. These cramps can occur sporadically throughout the day or might be a one-time event. While generally harmless and transient, eye twitches can become annoying. They’re usually triggered by factors such as stress, fatigue, caffeine, and eye strain but typically resolve on their own without the need for medical intervention.

What are the three main types of involuntary eye spasms, and how do they differ?

The primary types of involuntary eye spasms are myokymia, blepharospasm, and hemifacial spasm. Myokymia, the most common, involves minor twitching that usually affects only one eyelid and often resolves within a few days. Blepharospasm is more severe, affecting both eyes and potentially impairing the ability to perform daily activities by causing frequent, forceful eyelid closures. Hemifacial spasm extends beyond the eyelid to affect one side of the face, causing twitches that can impact the entire facial musculature, not just the eyelids. Each type varies in severity and potential impact on daily life.

What common causes contribute to eye twitching?

Common causes of eye twitching include stress, fatigue, and excessive caffeine consumption. These factors can trigger involuntary eyelid muscle spasms, typically resulting in brief, intermittent twitching that is more annoying than harmful. Lack of sleep can also exacerbate or lead to eye twitching, as can extended periods of screen use, which strain the eyes. Additionally, alcohol consumption and smoking have been identified as potential contributors to eye twitching. While these spasms are usually harmless and temporary, addressing the underlying causes often helps alleviate the twitching.

What symptoms accompanying eye twitching indicate a need for immediate medical attention?

Symptoms accompanying eye twitching that warrant immediate medical attention include persistent twitching that lasts for weeks or significantly interferes with daily activities, eyelid closure that accompanies each twitch, drooping eyelids, difficulty opening the affected eye, and noticeable vision changes. Additional concerning signs are redness, swelling, or discharge from the eye, suggesting an underlying condition requiring prompt evaluation and treatment by an eye care professional. These symptoms could indicate more severe neurological or ocular conditions that must be addressed to prevent further complications.

What risk factors might predispose someone to experience eye twitches?

Risk factors predisposing someone to experience eye twitches include high-stress levels, fatigue, and insufficient sleep, contributing to the frequency and severity of eyelid spasms. Excessive intake of caffeine or alcohol, smoking, and prolonged use of digital devices leading to eye strain can also increase the likelihood of experiencing eye twitches. Additionally, individuals with a history of eye irritation, dry eyes, or previous eye or facial surgeries may be more susceptible. Certain medications stimulating the nervous system can also contribute to developing eye twitches.

If you have more questions about eye twitching or want to schedule an appointment, please don’t hesitate to call your Marysville, WA optometrist today.

!Blog Posts Sidebar

Grandview Optometry


16616 Twin Lakes Ave
Marysville, WA 98271
(Inside Marysville/Smokey Point Costco)


Monday-Friday: 10:00am-6:30pm
Saturday:  9:30am-5:00pm
Sunday: Closed

!Blog Single Posts Social Sharing Icons