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Sunday, June 4, 2017

When are eyelid twitches an emergency?


Eyelid twitches are rarely serious enough to require emergency medical treatment. However, chronic eyelid spasms may be a symptom of a more serious brain or nervous system disorder. You may need to see your doctor if you’re having chronic eyelid spasms and any of the following also happens:

  • Your eye is red, swollen, or has an unusual discharge.
  • Your upper eyelid is drooping.
  • Your eyelid completely closes each time your eyelids twitch.
  • The twitching continues for several weeks.
  • The twitching begins affecting other parts of your face.

How are eyelid twitches treated?

Most eyelid spasms go away without treatment in a few days or weeks. If they don’t go away, you can try to eliminate or decrease potential causes. The most common causes of eyelid twitch are stress, fatigue, and caffeine. To ease eye twitching, you might want to try the following:
  • Drink less caffeine.
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Keep your eye surfaces and membranes lubricated with over-the-counter artificial tears or eye drops.
  • Apply a warm compress to your eyes when a spasm begins.
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. Treatments also include:
  • acupuncture
  • biofeedback
  • hypnosis
  • massage therapy
  • nutrition therapy
  • psychotherapy, which can be helpful for Tourette’s syndrome
  • tai chi
  • yoga and other meditation techniques for relaxation


How can you prevent eyelid twitches?

If your eyelid spasms are happening more frequently over time, keep a journal and note when they occur. Note your intake of caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol, as well as your level of stress and how much sleep you’ve been getting in the periods leading up to and during the eyelid twitching.
If you notice that you get more spasms when you aren’t getting enough sleep, try to go to bed 30 minutes to an hour earlier to help ease the strain on your eyelids and to reduce your spasms.


Outlook

Eyelid twitches have many causes. The treatment that works and the outlook varies depending on the person. Research is being done to see if there’s a genetic link, but it doesn’t seem to run in families. Twitches related to stress, lack of sleep, and other lifestyle factors have the best outlook. If an underlying health condition is the cause, then treating the underlying condition is the best way to relieve the twitching. 
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