Eyeball twitching has a medical name – myokymia. A continuous, uncontrollable movement of the eyelid is an eye twitching; it can either be of the lower eyelid or the upper eyelid. It is repetitive blinking and can occur from several seconds to minutes. The twitching is without any pain and may go away on its own but at times, it can be quite irritating. The vision can be obstructed if during the twitching period, the eyelid is shut for longer duration. The magnitude of duration can vary from individual to individual.
Why does the eyeball twitch??
There can be many causes for an eye to twitch starting from strain, stress, infection(s) in eyes, dryness in eyes, nutritional imbalances to tiredness, consumption of liquor, side effect of certain medications etc.
Let us see few of these causes in detail.
- Constant viewing or working on personal computer, laptop, television, cell phone, notepad, tablet, etc for a longer duration causes strain on eyes as we blink lesser than normal when we are working.
- Weaker eyesight may also be another cause of strain.
- Screen brightness, improper lighting conditions etc, also causes strain.
- In times of life moving at a hectic phase, the stress in daily routine causes eye disorders because of hormonal changes and secretion of enzymes.
- Lack of sleep due to stress can be another reason of eye twitching.
- Infection in an eye at times makes the eye watery with itching sensation. This result in rubbing of eye and production of a compound called histamine. It is produced in response to inflammation. This is one of the causes of eye twitching.
- One such infection is pink eye or commonly known as conjunctivitis.
Dryness of eyes:
- With aging, dryness is common and hence the twitching of an eye.
- Also for people using computers and screens, dryness is a common reason for eye twitching.
- Other reasons for dryness of eyes could be certain medications, tiredness, stress, lack of sleep, consumption of alcohol, use of contact lenses etc.
- Improper diet causing deficiencies of vitamins and minerals results in eye twitching.
- Lack of vitamins and minerals in regular intake affect the functioning of muscles including the eye muscles resulting in twitching.
Treatment for eye twitching
- Take short breaks when working or reading by closing eyes.
- Remember to blink the eyes while working with screens or watching television. Do not stare at the screen continuously.
- Regular eye checkups and using prescribed contact lenses.
- Maintain proper lighting conditions irrespective of day or night.
- Reduction in caffeine or alcohol intake.
- Using hot water or hot pad fermentation.
- Using eye drops or specified medications.
- Injections are also prescribed by doctors if the twitching is persistent.
When to visit a doctor
- If the twitching is consistent and doesn’t go away in few days, it might be a neurological condition and hence needs to be investigated and treated medically by a doctor.
- If the twitching is accompanied by any pain.
- If during twitching the eyelid shuts completely and there is difficulty in opening it.
- Any abnormal symptom like swelling, irritation, itchiness, discharges in eyes, etc.
Superstition about eye twitching
There are many myths revolving around the eye twitching in different cultures as explained below.
- Chinese Culture
In Chinese culture; for men the left eye twitching is a sign of good omen whereas twitching of right eye means some misfortune is on its way in. For women the story is absolutely opposite i.e. twitching of right eye is a good sign and that of left eye is a bad luck.
- Indian Culture
In Indian culture it is believed that right eye twitching brings good luck like monetary gains, success or some other good news. Eye twitching can be considered on the basis of gender as well. While left eye twitching is considered as a good sign for women, it may be inauspicious for men.
- African Culture
In Africa, twitching of lower eyelid is a signal of bad omen. If the upper eyelid twitches, it means you have an unexpected visitor on your way. Nigerians also consider left eye twitching as a sign of bad luck similar to Indian version of eye twitching superstition.
- Hawaiian Culture
Here, the twitching of left eye indicates arrival of a stranger. In addition to this belief, other superstition is that if the left eye twitches constantly it might signal a death in the family and that of right eye may signal a forthcoming birth.