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Types of Eye Twitching continued...

Benign essential blepharospasm usually develops in mid- to late-adulthood and gradually worsens. It affects about 20,000 to 50,000 Americans. It's twice as common in women as in men. It is not a serious condition but can interfere with your daily life in more severe cases.

Typically, benign essential blepharospasm starts with excessive blinking and/or eye irritation that may be triggered by:

  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Irritants such as bright light, wind, or air pollution

As the condition worsens, it may lead to an increased sensitivity to light, blurry vision, and facial spasms. In severe cases, the spasms can become so intense that the eyelids stay shut for up to several hours.

Researchers believe that benign essential blepharospasm may result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Although the condition is usually random, it sometimes runs in families.

Hemifacial spasm is quite rare and involves more than just the eyelid muscles. It also usually involves the muscles around the mouth. Unlike other types of eyelid twitching, it usually affects only one side of the face.

In most cases, hemifacial spasm is caused by an artery pressing on the nerve to the facial muscles.

Diagnosis of Eye Twitching

You should see an eye doctor if you have:

  • Twitching that persists for more than one week
  • Twitching that completely closes an eyelid
  • Spasms that involve other facial muscles
  • Redness, swelling, or discharge from an eye
  • A drooping upper eyelid

If your doctor suspects that a brain or nerve disorder is responsible for eye twitching, he or she will examine you for other common signs. You may be referred to a neurologist or other specialist.

Treatment of Eye Twitching

In most cases, minor eyelid twitch will disappear without you even noticing if you get enough rest and/or reduce or eliminate your intake of alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine. Blepharospasm does not occur while sleeping.

If you have dry eyes causing irritation of the cornea or conjunctiva, treating it with over-the-counter artificial tears will often relieve minor eyelid twitch.

So far, doctors have not found a successful cure for benign essential blepharospasm. But several treatment options may reduce its severity.

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