Treating Eyelid Twitch
- :Karla Reed
by: Karla Reed
Appearing at first as only an annoyance, eyelid twitch can be persistent, recurring and excel to more than just a nuisance.
5 in 100,000 people in the general population suffer from the twitching of the upper eyelid, striking females more often than men (1.8 females to 1 man). It is more common as we get older, with two thirds of patients in the over 60 population.
Causes can range from simply blinking too much, to an injury or abnormal functioning of the brain. They can include :
- Excessive blinking
- Excessive irritation
- Emotional stress
- Exposure to bright lights
- Dry eyes
- Air pollution
- Exposure to wind
- Injury or abnormal functioning of the brains’ basal ganglia
- Allergies and overuse of nasal decongestants
This worrisome twitch can last for days to weeks at a time, disappear and recur to rapidly fill your mind with burgeoning diagnoses. Eye twitch or blepharospasm occurs in millions annually. The underlying cause often goes undiagnosed and is more than likely - not serious.
- Increase your sleep - Lack of sleep is a major cause of blepharospasm. Increasing the amount of sleep has been shown to help 75% of sufferers!
- De-stress - A recent study showed that relaxation discontinued eye twitch in 55% of patients.
- Wear dark glasses.
- Share the experience with others - Talking about your fears and worries has been shown to help 22% of patients.
- Remove excess eyelashes from the outer corner of the eye.
- Practice lid hygiene- Twice a day; apply a washcloth with very warm water to your lids for approximately 4 minutes. Then gently rub your lashes and eyelids, horizontally, with the washcloth. This technique not only provides soothing and cleansing to the area but also provides traction which has been shown to relieve 22% of patients with eye twitch.
- Use eye drops - Using moisturizing eye drops (NOT the drops to clear the whites of your eyes) has been shown to relieve twitching in 24% of patients.
- Eat to stop the twitch - Eat a banana a day to increase your intake of potassium as it is one of the most important minerals for relieving dry eyes.
When to seek medical attention
Eye twitch should be followed by a physician if any of the following exist:
If the eyelid twitch is occurring in conjunction with other spasms and/or muscle twitches.
- If the eyelid is closing.
- If the twitch is occurring while on other medications (blepharospasm is known to occur with some anti-Parkinson’s drugs specifically).
- If the twitch continues and causes you increased worry and anxiety.
In addition to the home treatments listed, a physician may choose to treat blepharospasm with three methods:
- Medications - There are several meds that the physician may try: Lorazepam, Clorazepam and Artane amongst others. As a group, medications in one study were found to help 15% of patients.
- Botox - Yes, the wrinkle cure actually was approved in the 1980’s by the FDA for use to discontinue eye twitching. Your physician would inject small, diluted amounts into the muscle causing controlled weakness.
- Surgery - If the patient is functionally impaired by the twitch and is resistant to medications (or cannot tolerate them) and Botox, surgery may be considered. The surgeon removes some of the muscles responsible for eyelid function. This procedure has shown a 75-85% success.
It is important to remember that although annoying, frustrating and socially inhibiting, blepharospasm is most often, not serious at all.
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