An eyelid twitch usually appears suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere. Though it can sometimes be related to a serious medical problem, lid twitching is usually a benign condition. Relieving lid twitching means uncovering and treating the underlying trigger, which most commonly include stress, fatigue and excessive caffeine.
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About Eyelid Twitches
Eyelid twitches may feel stronger than they actually appear to someone looking at you or if you look at yourself in the mirror. Usually only one eyelid is affected, but both eyes can be involved. Both the upper and lower eyelid are susceptible to twitching. This benign form of eye twitching is called myokymia. If both eyes are completely closing and involuntarily blinking, this may indicate a more serious condition called blepharospasm. A twitch involving the entire side of the face is also more serious and may be neurological condition such as a hemifacial spasm. If you're experiencing a more serious form of eyelid twitches, it's important to see your doctor.
Effect of Caffeine
Excessive caffeine intake is a common factor in myokymia. Evaluating your caffeine intake in the time period before eyelid twitching began is useful. Often increased caffeine intake goes hand-in-hand with fatigue and stress -- the two other common factors involved in sudden eyelid twitches. Myokymia will usually stop on its own after a few days to weeks, but you can help speed up the process by reducing or stopping caffeine intake, as well as by getting more sleep and trying to reduce your stress.
If you've recently started drinking more alcohol, that may also trigger more lid twitching. Stop or moderate your alcohol intake to see if your eye twitching is relieved. Any sort of strain or discomfort to the eyes can also trigger eyelid twitches, so have your prescription checked if you feel like you're excessively straining to see things clearly. And if allergies or dry eyes are bothering you, they may also be disrupting the integrity of the eye surface and triggering twitches. Getting these conditions treated with eye drops or other care may help. Lubricant eye drops, called artificial tears, may increase eye surface comfort and decrease eyelid twitching.
Moderate caffeine drinking -- about 200 to 300 milligrams or two to four cups of coffee -- is usually considered safe. If you've ramped up the amount you're consuming lately, consider if that's involved in your eyelid twitching. Consider that you may be consuming excess caffeine inadvertently, since caffeine can be affected by hidden sources. Caffeine is an ingredient in some over-the-counter pain medications, so check the label. Some antibiotics, bronchodilator medications and the herb echinacea can increase caffeine concentrations in the body.