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What Are You Lacking When Your Eye Twitches?

In some cases, eye twitches may indicate that you are lacking nutrients such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, magnesium, iron, and electrolytes

If you are like most people, you have probably experienced eye twitches, where your eyelid spasms for no apparent reason. While stress and fatigue are the most common causes of eye twitches, in some cases the eye spasms could be the result of a lack of nutrients such as:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Electrolytes

According to the American Optometric Association, eye twitches are no cause for concern and often resolve on their own without any treatment.

What are different types of eye twitches?

  • Blepharospasm or dystonia: An inherited, rare neurological disorder characterized by excessive blinking and twitching of both the eyes and eventually involuntary closing of the eyes.
  • Hemifacial spasm: A neuromuscular condition caused by irritation of the facial nerves characterized by one-sided contraction of facial muscles including the eyelids.
  • Myokymia: A condition that causes increased eye blinking, typically involves one eye, and often resolves without any treatment.

What do eye twitches feel like?

Eye twitches vary in severity and frequency. Most do not last for long, but in some cases may last for weeks or even months. Symptoms may include:

  • Spasms of the muscles around the eyes
  • Involuntary blinking
  • Facial spasms
  • Light sensitivity

When should I be worried about eye twitching?

Contact an ophthalmologist if you experience:

  • Twitching that lasts for many days
  • Redness or swelling around the eyes
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Complete closure of the eyelid
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Decreased, blurred, or foggy vision
  • Double vision

A thorough examination of the eye is needed to rule out other eye issues and nervous disorders, such as:

  • Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids)
  • Dystonia
  • Tourette syndrome (a nervous system disorder characterized by repetitive and rapid movements)
  • Bell’s palsy (muscular weakness in one side of the face due to facial nerve paralysis)
  • Multiple sclerosis (a chronic, progressive disease of the brain and spinal cord)
  • Uveitis (inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye)
  • Parkinson’s disease (a neurodegenerative disorder)

Your ophthalmologist may recommend a blood test to verify whether you are vitamin deficient and will prescribe medications and diet accordingly.

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How can I get my eye to stop twitching?

Eyelid twitches frequently stop on their own without any treatment. However, a few things that can ease the symptoms include:

  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Avoid or limit intake of caffeine
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Consume foods rich in vitamin B12, such as red meat, milk, chicken, eggs and salmon
  • Consume foods rich in magnesium, such as green leafy vegetables, bananas, yogurt, avocados, dried fruits, pumpkin seeds, and beans
  • Avoid stress and practice relaxation techniques
  • Take frequent breaks from computer or TV screens
  • Wear tinted glasses to avoid harsh light
  • Apply warm compresses to your eyes 
  • Gently massage your eyes
  • Correct any refractive errors in your eyes
  • Use eye drops to keep your eyes moist and lubricated
  • Take medication (clonazepam, lorazepam, trihexyphenidyl hydrochloride)
  • Get botulinum toxin injections (these relaxes the muscles involved and blocks the nerve-signaling process)

In severe cases and if other approaches do not seem to work, your doctor may recommend myectomy, which is surgical removal of portions of muscle around the eye.

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Medically Reviewed on 1/25/2022

References

Image Source: iStock Images

Cleveland Clinic. Eyelid Twitching. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/17663-eyelid-twitching

Henderson A. Eye Twitching. Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/eye-twitching

Seltman W. Eye Twitching. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/why-your-eyes-twitch

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