The Health Sciences Institute is intended to provide cutting-edge health information.
Nothing on this site should be interpreted as personal medical advice. Always consult with your doctor before changing anything related to your healthcare.

What does it mean if your eye is twitching?

If you’ve seen any of the old “Pink Panther” movies, you no doubt remember Chief Inspector Dreyfus, the character with the occasional eye twitch. It usually came on when he was being driven crazy by Inspector Clouseau.

Well, that kind of twitching eye has a name — eyelid myokymia. And, yes, it can be caused by abnormal stress. A lack of sleep or excessive caffeine consumption might also be responsible, according to Dr. Neil Miller of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

But it’s a common affliction that’s usually not worth worrying about. “Most of the time it’s nothing” and “goes away in a couple of weeks,” says Dr. Miller. But even chronic twitching that lasts longer shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

While hot and cold compresses or closing your eyes won’t relieve the twitch, a nap just might, Dr. Miller advises.

And some contact lens wearers might want to switch to eyeglasses during twitching episodes.

If the entire side of your face starts twitching, that might be a different story. That could be caused by an underlying growth, blood vessel or aneurysm pressing on a facial nerve. That’s when you need to see your doctor.

Sources:

“Why is your eye twitching?” Avery Johnson, May 12, 2014, The Wall Street Journal, online.wsj.com