Eyelid twitches are spasms or repetitive, uncontrollable blinking of the eyelid, usually of the upper eyelid. They often affect the muscles of the eyes and result in involuntary movements that last few seconds, and repeat after a few minutes. What causes this phenomenon?
Although eye twitching usually lasts only a few minutes, in some cases it may be stubborn and take several days. Its cause has not yet been precisely determined, but factors such as fatigue, stress and excessive consumption of stimulants such as caffeine, tobacco or alcohol can be associated with it.
Experts say that this may also be related to certain eye conditions such as drought, excessive fatigue, allergies and irritation of the eye or its membrane.
Sometimes the eye spasms appear for no apparent reason for a few minutes before stopping on their own. However, there are cases where the spasms are a symptom of a severe neurological disorder.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, immediately consult a doctor:
- Spasms affecting all the facial muscles
- Your eyes start to swell or redden
- You notice an unusual eye discharge
- Your upper eyelid begins to close
Indeed, these symptoms may indicate that you develop blepharospasm or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known under the name Gehrig’s disease.
Blepharospasm is a neurological disorder of the facial muscle tone. It causes spasms in the eyelid muscles, resulting in closure of repetitive and involuntary way. This eyelid closure may last for few seconds as it can be done almost continuously. It usually occurs following intense visual activities such as reading, driving, the use of a screen, exposure to bright light, etc.
Blepharospasm reaches those aged 50 and over, with a predominance of women. If it is not treated early, it can cause permanent closure of the eyelids or to spread and affect other facial muscles (Meige syndrome). But sometimes, taking some measures are necessary to reduce the frequency of the problem and prevent its spread, such as wearing special glasses for reading or the use of screens, rest, etc.
Besides, some people claim they get to momentarily control the tremors of their eyelids, by yawning, singing or chewing.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Gehrig’s disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive muscle paralysis. It is due to degeneration of motor neurons in the cerebral cortex. Affecting all of the skeletal musculature, it is manifested by repeated muscle spasms, cramps, weakness and muscle loss.
Although its causes have not been definitively established, several hypotheses have been advanced:
- Genetic predisposition
- Oxidative stress causes a mutation of certain genes
- Disruption of the mechanisms of programmed cell death (apoptosis)
- Prolonged exposure to heavy metals and pesticides
- Severe physical trauma
Unfortunately, the treatments available for this disease fail to heal it completely, but only to slow down the progression of paralysis.