You’ve likely experienced it at least once in your lifetime—suddenly your eyelid starts involuntarily twitching in spasms for no apparent reason. When this happens, it’s called lid myokymia. It’s a common phenomenon, but what causes it?
There is no single, definitive cause for lid myokymia, but it seems to be rooted in such circumstances as lack of sleep, too much caffeine, increased levels of stress, or prolonged eye strain. Most often, intermittent myokymia is harmless and will resolve on its own. But if spasms persist, you can try alternating hot and cold compresses to sooth the overactive nerve that’s responsible for the twitching.
Occasionally, myokymia can be a sign of dry eye, light sensitivity, pink eye, or be the side effect of certain medications.
If you experience myokymia that continues for more than a week, or your eyelids completely close when spasms occur, call our eye doctor for an examination. In rarer cases, myokymia could be the result of a more serious condition, such as inflamed eyelids (blepharitis) or a nerve disorder.
Blepharospasm is another word doctors use to describe this condition, although myokymia usually occurs in just one eye and blepharospasm, a more general description of abnormal blinking, can occur in both eyes.
Children sometimes exhibit unusual blinking behavior causing concern for parents. This can be a simple habit or secondary to conditions like dry eye disease and binocular vision conditions. When patients come in with myokymia, Dr. Williamson considers the patient’s history, exam findings, and contributing factors before carefully making a diagnosis and recommendations. Most often reduced stress, increase water intake, or reduced screen time is all that is needed, although rarely, a referral to a neurologist is warranted.
If you or your family member would like to learn more about the services we offer at Michigan Eye and Contact Lens, please call our Novi office next to the Starbucks to speak with a staff member.