An eyelid twitch is a repetitive, involuntary spasm of the eyelid muscle.Chronic and uncontrollable eyelid twitches are a sign of benign essential blepharospasm.Very rarely, eyelid spasms are a symptom of a more serious brain or nerve disorder.
An eyelid twitch, or blepharospasm, is a repetitive, involuntary spasm of the eyelid muscles. A twitch usually occurs in the upper lid, but it can occur in both the upper and lower lids. For most people, these spasms are very mild and feel like a gentle tug on the eyelid. Others may experience a spasm strong enough that it forces you to close your eyelid completely. Some people never have any noticeable signs.
Spasms typically occur every few seconds for a minute or two. Episodes of eyelid twitching are unpredictable. The twitch may occur off and on for several days. Then, you may not experience any twitching for weeks or even months.
The twitches are painless and harmless, but they may bother you. Most spasms will resolve on their own without the need for treatment. In rare cases, eyelid spasms may be an early warning sign of a chronic movement disorder, especially if the spasms are accompanied by other facial twitches or uncontrollable movements.
Eyelid spasms may occur without any identifiable cause, and because they are rarely a sign of a serious problem, the cause is not usually investigated. Nevertheless, eyelid twitches may be caused or made worse by:
If the spasms become chronic, you may have what’s known as “benign essential blepharospasm,” which is the name for chronic and uncontrollable eyelid movement. This condition typically affects both eyes. The exact cause of the condition is unknown.
Very rarely, eyelid spasms are a symptom of a more serious brain or nerve disorder. When the eyelid twitches are a result of these more serious conditions, they are almost always accompanied by other symptoms. Brain and nerve disorders that may cause eyelid twitches include:
Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections are sometimes used to treat benign essential blepharospasm. Botox may ease severe spasms for a few months. However, as the effects of the injection wear off, you may need further injections.
Surgery to remove some of the muscles and nerves in the eyelids (myectomy) can also treat more severe cases of benign essential blepharospasm. Physical therapy may also be useful for training the muscles in your face to relax.
Lifestyle treatments may also help ease the symptoms of benign essential blepharospasm. Coenzyme Q10 is one treatment, but you should ask your doctor about it first if you have Parkinson’s disease.