Eyelid twitching, also known as blepharospasm or facial myokymia, is a common and harmless phenomenon, but one that can scare people.
Eyelid twitching occurs when the eyelid muscles move involuntarily and repetitively, causing an uncomfortable and sometimes irritating sensation. This symptom can be attributed to a variety of causes, from banal factors to more serious health problems.
The most common factors that can lead to eyelid twitching are stress, anxiety, tiredness, excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol, and exposure to environments with smoke or bright light. However, it is important to be aware of cases where tremors persist for long periods or are accompanied by other symptoms, as this may indicate the need to seek specialist evaluation.
Although eyelid tremors most often do not pose a health risk, understanding the causes and possible treatments can help you better deal with the discomfort and prevent the problem from recurring.
It is worth investing in healthy habits, such as sleeping well, controlling stress and avoiding excessive consumption of stimulating substances, contributing to quality of life and well-being.
What Is Eyelid Trembling?
Eyelid tremor is characterized by an involuntary and repetitive spasm of the eyelids, most common in the upper eyelid of the eye, but it can also occur in the lower eyelid in some cases.
This involuntary contraction happens due to the action of the muscles around the eyes and can last a few seconds or, in some cases, be more persistent. Myokymia does not have enough strength to move the joints, it is just a quick and localized movement in the affected muscle.
The occurrence of eyelid twitching involves several factors. The most common is due to stress, which causes various changes in the body, especially in the functioning of the muscles. Hormones released when a person is stressed influence these tremors. Other causes include the consumption of substances such as caffeine and alcohol, which can cause these episodes of eyelid twitching.
It is important to mention that although most cases of eyelid twitching are benign and temporary, if the symptoms persist or get worse, it is recommended to seek the attention of a specialist, as it could indicate more serious health problems.
Factors that can trigger facial myokymia
Although it is not a serious condition, facial myokymia can be triggered by several factors, such as:
- sleep deprivation: Sleeping less than seven hours a night can negatively affect your health and increase your risk of eyelid twitching. To improve sleep quality, try to sleep at least seven hours a night and, if necessary, seek medical help.
- Stress: worries and anxiety may be responsible for eyelid twitching. Take a deep breath, slow down and seek help from a psychiatrist if anxiety is hurting your quality of life.
- too much caffeine: Consuming more than 250-300 mg of caffeine per day can cause eyelid twitching. Cut back on coffee and other caffeinated beverages to ease the problem.
- excessive screen time: Spending a lot of time in front of computers, TVs and cell phones can also contribute to facial myokymia. Reduce screen time and adjust brightness and font size of screens for greater comfort.
Causes of Trembling Eyelid
Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are common causes of eyelid twitching. The release of stress-related hormones can affect the functioning of muscles and cause involuntary twitching, as in eyelid twitching.
Tiredness and Few Hours of Sleep
Lack of sleep and tiredness are also contributing factors to eyelid twitching. Sleeping a few hours or having a poor quality of sleep can lead to a greater propensity for involuntary spasms in the eye area.
Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption
Excessive consumption of substances such as caffeine and alcohol can cause eyelid twitching. Caffeine has a stimulating effect on the nervous system, while alcohol can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, which can lead to involuntary muscle contractions.
Dry Eye and Allergies
Conditions like dry eye and allergies can also cause eyelid twitching. Exposure to a dry environment, the presence of smoke or sensitivity to light are factors that can irritate the eyes and lead to eyelid twitching.
food and nutrients
Some common foods in our daily lives can also cause these tremors, such as high intake of alcoholic beverages and coffee. In addition, the lack of some essential vitamins for the body, such as vitamin B12 and minerals such as potassium and magnesium, and insufficient intake of these nutrients are also factors that can cause involuntary spasms in small muscles, such as the eyelid muscles.
Blepharospasmo e Dystonia
Blepharospasm is a condition that causes involuntary and repeated twitching of the eyelids, resulting from stress, fatigue or exposure to light. Dystonia, in turn, is a neurological disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions, resulting in abnormal movements and postures. Both conditions can occur together or separately, leading to eyelid twitching.
Hemifacial spasm causes involuntary contractions of the muscles on one side of the face, including the eyelid. This condition can be caused by irritation of a facial nerve or vascular compression. When it affects the eyelid area, it can lead to eyelid tremor.
Tourette’s Syndrome and Multiple Sclerosis
Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by motor and vocal tics. These involuntary movements can affect the eyelid, causing it to twitch. Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the central nervous system and can also lead to eyelid twitching due to dysfunction of the nerves that control the muscles.
Uveitis and Nystagmus
Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea, part of the eye responsible for nourishing and draining eye fluid. This inflammation can cause eyelid discomfort and tremors. Nystagmus, in turn, is an involuntary and rapid movement of the eyes, which can lead to eyelid twitching, especially if associated with other ocular symptoms.
Bell’s palsy (peripheral facial palsy) is a neurological disorder that causes weakness or paralysis of the muscles on one side of the face. When it affects the eyelid muscles, it can cause twitching or involuntary twitching.
Signs and symptoms
Eyelid tremor is common. Some people may experience eyelid redness and itchiness in addition to the tremor. These symptoms can be temporary and last for a few seconds, or they can be persistent and last for hours or even days.
Eyelid twitching may be related to the autonomic nervous system and stress. Sensitivity of eyelid muscles to catecholamines (adrenaline, noradrenaline) and stimulation of autonomic nervous system can be one of the reasons for eyelid twitching.
In rarer and more persistent cases, eye twitching can be a symptom of a neurological disorder. Therefore, if the person has eyelid tremor accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain or difficulty opening and closing the eye, it is important to seek medical advice.
It is worth noting that palpebral myokymia, the technical name for eyelid tremor, is a benign phenomenon and is not a cause for concern. However, looking at your stress level, tiredness, and sleep quality can help you better understand and manage your tremors.
Reducing caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco intake can also be helpful in preventing this symptom.
To relieve the tremors temporarily, you can try chamomile tea or ice packs. However, the ultimate solution is to treat the causes of the problem.
Identify the causes and see if you can eliminate them to get rid of the tremors.
Eyelid tremors – could it be from anxiety?
Many people, when stressed, experience heartburn, malaise, tremors in their hands and feet, and others have such tremors in their eyelids. Some of the most common causes are tiredness, stress, anxiety, nervousness and overwork in everyday life.
When we are stressed, we release hormones such as cortisol, which act on the autonomic nervous system (one that does not depend on our will) and control functions such as breathing, temperature and digestion. These hormones can generate stimuli in the eyelids, causing involuntary and repetitive contractions.
Beware of excessive use of computer or cell phone
If you spend many hours in front of the computer or glazed over the cell phone screen, this can cause eye strain, leaving the muscles of the eyes and eyelids overloaded, which results in involuntary contractions and palpebral tremors.
In these cases, it is recommended to intersperse periods of work with rest for the eyes. For example, rest your eyes by looking into the distance for 15 minutes for every hour of computer use.
When to seek medical help
While facial myokymia is usually not a sign of anything serious, it’s important to be aware of potential complications.
If eyelid twitching induces involuntary blinking or if muscle twitches occur in the face on the same side, it is essential to seek out a neurologist to investigate other conditions such as blepharospasm or hemifacial spasm.
Nystagmus: a different problem
It is important to differentiate facial myokymia from nystagmus, characterized by rapid, involuntary eye movements. Nystagmus is related to problems in the vestibular system, which is part of the labyrinth of the inner ear, and can be associated with diseases such as labyrinthitis and loose crystals.