Jumping or twitching eye is very common and, in most cases, nothing to be concerned about. In some rarer circumstances though, it can require further investigation.
So why does your eyelid spasm or jump? It’s not for joy, on the contrary, it’s usually due to shortcomings in your body elsewhere, and with some investigation, you can find what’s causing it.
Let’s take a look.
Eye twitching or jumping eye: definition and symptoms
👉Scientifically speaking, a jumping eye or twitching eyelid is called eyelid myokymia, or eyelid fasciculation.
Your eyelid (the lower part usually, occasionally the upper part) begins to shake uncontrollably. Like your dad at a disco. It’s not localized and could be either your right or left eye, depending.
This eyelid twitching phenomenon appears suddenly without any real warning (also like your dad at a disco). It can disappear as quickly as it arrived but can also last several weeks, which is annoying for you and a bit disconcerting for others.
If, on the other hand, your eye isn’t simply twitching, but the tremors are actually causing it to close partially or completely (usually both), then it’s referred to as benign essential blepharospasm. Which can be more serious and requires further medical follow-up.
By that, we mean see a doctor for an eye exam, not refer to your favorite episode of Scrubs.
Causes of twitching eyes
The primary origin of jumping or eyelid twitch is unknown, but it is known that it can originate in the motor nerves of the brain.
We can identify factors that can trigger or reinforce an episode of eye jumping:
- Magnesium deficiency
- Eye strain, or computer vision syndrome
- Certain drugs and stimulants (including the dangerous trio: caffeine, tobacco and alcohol)
- Dry eye syndrome
- Eye muscle fatigue
- Irritated eyes
- Lack of sleep
- Environment: too much wind or sun
How to stop your eye from twitching
There are simple but fundamental changes you can make to your diet and routine that will help prevent your eyelid twitches. Since the origin is probably to do with your nervous system, we should tackle it directly from the Groot…. I mean root.
- ☕Replace your coffee order with another neutral drink for a few days. Ideally reduce how much you have in general, switching to decaf every other cup will improve your sensitivity, and you might end up spending less money on Starbucks.
- 🚬Avoid alcohol and cigarettes. There goes your Friday night. For real though, it’s a good reason to cut down.
- 💤Take the time to rest. A lot can be cured by a good night’s sleep. And you’ll feel better too.
- 💻Reduce your screen time. Use blue light blocking computer glasses to reduce digital eye strain and fatigue.
- 😴Try meditation. We use the Headspace app and spend just 15 minutes a day meditating to release pressure and reduce stress.
- 🏃♀️Add more exercise to your daily life. We all have to get off the computer some time. As well as relaxing you, it lowers intraocular pressure and can help reduce symptoms like an eye twitch.
- 💧Try some eye drops. You can pick up some to moisten your eyes from your local drug store.
- 🍴Lack of magnesium = change your diet. You can easily add better nutrition to your gamer’s diet by snacking on peanuts, hazelnuts, spinach, sunflower seeds, millet, rice, beans, oatmeal and Nuka Cola. Just kidding on the last one, you don’t want to get radiation poisoning. Instead, try magnesium-rich mineral water (that you can’t find in Fallout). For a small boost you could also buy dietary supplements rich in magnesium.
- ☀️Protect your eyes from the sun with good anti-UV sunglasses.
If you find your symptoms lasting a week or longer, or you have difficulty in opening your eye, then we definitely recommend speaking to an ophthalmologist ASAP. Your specialist could recommend medication or more rarely, treatment with botulinum toxin injections. But you won’t get superpowers, sorry. On the plus side you won’t end up like Daredevil either.
Consulting a doctor: when you should do it
If your eye is twitching but you have no other symptoms, try not to worry. It’s usually not a cause for concern and could be just down to one of the above suggestions.
If on the other hand, symptoms don’t seem to abate even when you’ve made the lifestyle changes we’ve recommended, and you’re experiencing frequent eye spasms then it’s probably time to see your eye doctor or primary care physician. Especially if you notice any other symptoms such as:
- Red or swollen eye with unusual discharge
- Drooping upper eyelid
- Eyelid closes completely each time your eyelids twitch
- Spasms that affect other parts of your face
Jumping eye and more serious nerve disorders
It’s rare and we’re not trying to fear monger, but your eyelid twitching can occasionally be a symptom of something more serious, like a brain or nerve disorder. If so, though, your jumping eye is almost always accompanied by other symptoms, so don’t panic just because you feel a light twitch.
Here are some of the other symptoms you might see and what they mean:
- Bell’s palsy: lowering of one side of the face.
- Cervical dystonia: random neck spasms, and need to twist the head into awkward positions.
- Multiple Sclerosis: cognitive and motor disorders, fatigue, and ocular tics.
- Parkinson’s disease: limb tremors, muscle rigidity, balance problems, and difficulty speaking.
- Tourette’s syndrome: involuntary movements and verbal tics.
Why your eye is twitching: Final thoughts
The jumping eye phenomenon is painful but usually not a sign of anything serious. In most cases it can be attributed to:
- Eye strain
- Lack of sleep
- Magnesium deficiency
- Dry eye and other eye disorders
- In very rare cases, more significant nerve pathology.
In the majority of cases, jumping eye is quickly taken care of by rebalancing your diet and lifestyle. In other words, naturally taking care of your eye health.
Also be aware that that twitch feels far more dramatic to you than how it actually looks. It’s unlikely many people will even notice a twitch at all; and you could always pass it off as a suave wink anyway.