An eyelid twitch is actually a spasm of the muscles in the eyelid. The condition medically termed as myokymia is actually very common. It can happen to the upper or lower lid. It happens spontaneously and can last for a few seconds or longer. Most patients describe the twitching as coming on and off for a few days to a few weeks. Often, you might feel the eye is moving so much that the whole room notices! In fact, the movement is quite small and people around you may hardly notice.
What causes eyelid twitching?
The eyelid twitch may actually be brought on by several different factors. One of the main reasons we experience eye twitching is fatigue. Stress can also be a contributing factor. Caffeine is also a culprit. Caffeine causes the tiny muscles in your eyelid to spasm resulting in the twitching sensation.
Some people experience twitching secondary to inflammation of the eyelids, or blepharitis. Blepharitis is a condition that involves a blockage of the oil-secreting glands and deposit build-up in the lashes. This deposit build-up and inflammation can lead to a contraction and potential spasm of the eyelid muscles.
When should I see a doctor?
While most of the time, eyelid twitching is harmless, there are instances when a more serious underlying condition may be at cause. Benign eyelid twitching is painless and not associated with other neurological symptoms. You should consult a doctor if the eyelid twitching is constant or doesn’t resolve after a few weeks. If you are experiencing forceful eyelid spasms that cause your eye to completely close, this could indicate blepharospasm. If the twitching progresses to the lower face, a hemifacial spasm might be the diagnosis. A hemifacial spasm can be caused by a tumour. Eyelid twitching can also be associated with neurological disease, such as Parkinson’s.
What can help alleviate eyelid twitching?
Get some rest. If possible, try to reduce some of the stressful factors or practice stress-reducing techniques such as yoga or meditation. Can you decrease the amount of coffee, tea or other caffeinated beverages? Easier said then done. Cold compresses can also help relieve the spasm of the eyelids.
In most cases, eyelid twitching is completely benign and can be relieved following a few simple steps within a few weeks. If there is any doubt, it’s best to consult a doctor.
Dr Angela Issa, optometrist
Here are some eye safety tips you should consider this winter:
During the winter months, not only does our skin dry up but our eyes are also susceptible to dryness. Our eyes produce less tears in the winter because the cold air holds less humidity. Dry eye symptoms include watery eyes, blurry vision and irritation. Try using a
humidifier this time of year and ensure that the vents in your vehicle aren’t blowing directly at you.
Wear winter goggles for sports. Just like playing tennis or swimming during the summer, we should also be protecting our eyes when playing winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding. We should all be wearing sunglasses during the winter to protect our eyes from the UV rays and the glare off the snow.
Overexposure to UV rays, at any time of the year, can lead to many eye health problems, including cataracts, degeneration of the retina, and damage to the cornea.
An eye exam is more than just a vision test; it’s a check-up for your eye health!
During your comprehensive eye exam, Dr Issa will thoroughly examine your eyes and measure your eye pressure. She will screen for eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma.
It’s important to keep in mind that many eye diseases present with little or no symptoms early on in the disease. Regular eye exams are key in preventing and detecting eye health problems.
The best way to maintain your vision and eye health is an annual eye exam. Book your eye exam at Rockland Eye Clinic today.
Un examen de la vue chez le jeune enfant peut détecter certains problèmes visuels importants dont:
- L’amblyopie ou “oeil paresseux“
- Le strabisme ou “oeil devié“
- Certaines pathologies oculaires
Durant l`examen de la vue de votre enfant, l`optométriste va:
- Évaluer l`alignement des yeux
- Évaluer la santé des yeux
- Évaluer objectivement (avec l`utilisation de gouttes) la présence de myopie, d`hypermétropie ou d’astigmatisme
L’Association des optométristes du Québec recommande un examen de la vue et le dépistage des maladies oculaires dès l’âge de six mois. Un examen de la vue chez le bébé ou l’enfant peut aider à prévenir certains types d’amblyopie (un problème dans le développement des yeux). Il est établi que le développement du système visuel (les yeux, les nerfs optiques conduisant au cerveau et le champ visuel) se poursuit jusqu’à l’âge de sept à neuf ans, donc cette période est critique pour l’examen des yeux. Heureusement, on sait aujourd`hui que si l’on intervient très tôt chez l`enfant qui présente des problèmes visuels, on lui donne de meilleures chances de développer une vision normale.
Dr Susan Issa, OD, optométriste
Clinique de l’œil Rockland, tous droits réservés. Les informations contenues dans cet article sont à titre informatif seulement et ne remplacent pas l’avis d’un médecin ou optométriste.
Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. Patients with blepharitis suffer from red, itchy, swollen lids with crusts in the lashes.
We often recommend warm compresses for blepharitis because they help to thin the oil inside the glands which can help drain them. It can be very frustrating for patients to run warm water on a washcloth only to have it cool off thirty seconds later. For warm compresses to be effective, they need to stay on your eyelids for 10-12 minutes. I find using a warming mask that can be heated in the microwave far more effective because it stays warm much longer. You can also wash the masks and reuse them multiple times.
No more baby shampoo!
Lid hygiene is very important in the treatment of blepharitis. There are a number of lid cleansers available over the counter. Always use a cleanser that is meant for the eyelids. We no longer recommend the use of diluted baby shampoo. Baby shampoo isn’t meant for the eyelids. It contains synthetic detergents that can alter the normal pH levels of the lids. Many patients develop allergies to the ingredients and it can clog the oil-secreting glands. It can actually do more harm than good.
Mites in my lashes?
The latest research shows blepharitis is often associated with Demodex mites. Demodex is a parasite that lives on our skin. When demodex multiplies, it causes an infection of the eyelid and oil-secreting glands in the eyelids. For demodex infections, I recommend using a cleanser that contains tea tree oil such as Theralid Eyelid Cleanser.
Dr Angela Issa, optometrist
Eyelash extensions are becoming more popular. Before you decide to get eyelash extensions, you need to keep in mind the possible risks to your eye health.
Eyelash extensions are commonly made of either a synthetic material or mink fur. They are attached to your original lashes with a special adhesive or eyelash glue. Eyelash glue may contain formaldehyde which is toxic. If the glue enters in contact with your eyelid or the eye, it can cause a severe allergic reaction or even a chemical burn. I have had patients consult with inflamed eyelids (blepharitis) or irritated corneas. Some patients are in such distress that they ask us to remove the eyelash extensions immediately. The extensions tug on your current lashes and cause trauma to the base of the lashes. The extensions can actually end up causing your own natural eyelashes to fall out.
We have had several patients consult our clinic because a false eyelash fell in her eye. False eyelashes are thicker and sharper than our real lashes and are more likely to irritate or scratch the cornea (corneal abrasion).
Another more serious complication is infection. Bacteria and dirt can become trapped underneath the extensions and you could end up with an eye infection. Some estheticians don’t wash their hands or disinfect their tools properly increasing the risk of infection further.
Lastly, keep in mind that an accident can happen during the process. A slip near the eye with a sharp tool can result in a serious eye injury.
Unfortunately, there are currently no laws in Quebec regulating the use of eyelash extensions. Always ask your esthetician about the ingredients in the adhesive used for the extensions. Many estheticians claim to be experts in eyelash extensions. It’s important to choose an esthetician who is certified.
Dr Angela Issa, optometrist
Wearing Contact Lenses Doesn’t Have To Pose A Risk For Your Eye Health, As Long As You Follow Some Simple Tips
- Wash, rinse and dry your hands before handling your contact lenses
- Daily disposable contact lenses are the best way to avoid eye infections
- Never sleep with your contact lenses in your eyes
- Never use tap water to rinse your contact lenses
- Always replace the lens case every month
- Visit your optometrist yearly before renewing your contact lens supply
Dr Susan Issa, optometrist
We All Know The Benefits Of Eating Well To Maintain Good General Health. But We Don’t Always Think About What Good Nutrition Can Do For Our Eyes.
There are many foods that contain nutrients and vitamins that can specifically help boost our eye health and have a positive impact on our vision. Eating certain foods can help prevent some sight-threatening eye diseases.
Foods that contain anti-oxidants, such as lutein and zeaxanthine, can protect our eyes against harmful UV rays. These foods include leafy greens, fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C such as oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, strawberries, bell peppers and broccoli.
Your mom was right about the carrots. Carrots contain beta-carotene, an anti-oxidant which can help reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration and early cataracts. Other orange foods include yams and sweet potatoes.
Eating fish regularly can also be a good way to protect against age-related macular degeneration and dry eyes. Fish are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA. Omega-3’s are essential in maintaining overall health.
While some healthy foods can help maintain good eye health, there are also some foods that it is best to avoid. We should avoid foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates as they can be a contributing factor to developing early cataracts.
Nutrition plays an important role in maintaining your eye health. Make an appointment today for your annual eye exam.
Dr Susan Issa, optometrist