Twitching eyelid - these are the causes


Almost everyone knows it: a twitching eyelid. The involuntary twitches are also called Fasciculations designated. The twitching of the eyes often disappears on its own within a short time.
In most cases, a twitching eyelid is harmless and rarely is it a sign of serious illness.

Prolonged twitching can, however, be very annoying and annoying.

The twitching is caused by the rhythmic contraction of the small muscles in the eyelid. Usually only one eye is affected by the twitching, it is unusual for both eyes to occur at the same time.

What are the causes of twitching eyelids?

A twitching eyelid is due to the sudden and involuntary contraction of the eye muscles in the upper eyelid. The nerves that supply the eye muscles send uncontrolled signals to the muscle and the eyes twitch.

Everyone has benign muscle twitches, but normally we don't notice it as much on other parts of the body as on the eyelid.
This is because the eyeball is located directly under the eyelid and the twitching is therefore permanently visible.

The causes of a twitching eye are very diverse.

  • In most cases there are simply psychological factors such as stress, nervousness, fatigue or an inner tension behind it.
  • Also a mineral deficiency or
  • excessive caffeine consumption can cause the twitching.

These causes are harmless and the twitching usually doesn't last longer than a few minutes.

Other possible triggers are

  • Inflammation or infection of the eye, such as viral conjunctivitis
  • Minor injuries or foreign bodyGetting in the eye can also make the eye twitch.
  • In rare cases it can also have a serious neurological disorder, such as multiple sclerosis or
  • a tumor disease behind it.

Learn more at: What can be causing eye twitching?

Stress as a cause of eyelid twitching

In addition to a lack of minerals, stress is the most common cause of eyelid twitching. The most common mechanism that causes eyelid twitching is chronic fatigue and tiredness. This can be triggered by physical stress such as lack of sleep or illness. Psychological stress factors such as pressure to perform, overstimulation or critical life events can also cause eyelid twitching.

In general, various hormones are released in the body in stressful situations. These are intended to make the person concerned more productive. Stress becomes a problem when it persists over a long period of time. The body continuously releases hormones that, for example, strengthen the thyroid function.The so-called sympathetic nervous system, which should prepare our ancestors to fight or flee, is also activated by the stress hormones. This leads to the fact that the muscle tension increases and the nerve cells transmit signals more quickly. This can lead to minor disturbances, for example resulting in uncontrollable twitching of the eyelids. Symptoms usually go away when the stress level is reduced.

Eyelid twitching after exercise

Excessive physical exertion puts stress on the body.
During intensive sport, the muscles work at their maximum capacity and overexertion can lead to the communication between nerves and muscles being disturbed.

As a result, the eye muscles twitch.
This is a completely harmless symptom that disappears completely after a short time, when the body has relaxed and recovered.

Can that be a defect?

A lack of various substances can be the cause of the eyelid twitching. Such deficiency symptoms are often acutely triggered by gastrointestinal diseases. The body secretes a lot of electrolytes (blood salts), so that the electrolyte balance is imbalanced. Various electrolytes play a role in the functioning of the muscles (potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium), but in most cases a magnesium deficiency is the cause if there is an electrolyte disorder.

Even a diet that does not provide enough vitamins to the body can lead to a deficiency that causes the eyelid twitch. Vitamin B (especially vitamin B12) is particularly important. A deficiency occurs more often with a vegetarian or vegan diet. With a vegetarian diet, a lack of vitamin B12 can be prevented with good planning. With a strictly vegan diet, the vitamin B12 must usually be supplied in the form of vitamin tablets. Such vitamin deficiencies can also occur with metabolic disorders or organic diseases (liver or stomach).

Does caffeine cause eye twitching?

Often, eye twitching is caused by excessive consumption of beverages containing caffeine, such as coffee.

Caffeine causes the stress hormone adrenaline to rise and thus has a stimulating and awakening effect.
However, too large amounts cause nervousness and increase blood pressure.
Caffeine also stimulates muscle activity.
These factors make the eyes twitch.

Can the thyroid be the cause?

The thyroid produces two hormones, the thyroid hormones T3 and T4.
These hormones regulate the metabolism and thus have an influence on the muscles, bone growth and physical development.

If there is an overproduction of these two hormones due to a thyroid disease, this is noticeable in nervousness and muscle twitching, among other things.
Then twitching of the eye can also occur.

This clinical picture is known as hyperthyroidism or hyperthyroidism and can be treated well with certain medications (so-called anti-thyroid drugs or thyroid blockers).

Eyelid twitching after sneezing

Sometimes it happens that the eyelid begins to twitch after sneezing.
This is a completely harmless phenomenon that does not require any further treatment and usually disappears after a few minutes.

If the nasal mucous membrane is irritated by a foreign body (for example a small dust particle), the stimulus is transmitted via the nerves via the brain to the spinal cord, where the signal to sneeze is finally generated.
This process can irritate the nerves that supply the muscles of the eye and the eye begins to twitch.

Do contact lenses cause eye twitching?

Strictly speaking, contact lenses are a foreign body to our eyes and can lead to minor injuries (e.g. corneal abrasions).
This irritates the eye and the muscles begin to twitch.

You should wash your hands thoroughly before inserting the contact lenses, as this significantly reduces the risk of contamination of the contact lenses.

Can this be an indication of multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the body's own structures in the central nervous system.
As a result, an autoimmune inflammation develops.
This makes it harder for the nerves to transmit signals and lead to various types of failure.
The symptoms of failure depend on which area of ​​the brain or spinal cord the inflammation is in.

Symptoms of MS include numbness, visual disturbances, and paralysis.

In rare cases, persistent twitching of the eyes can be an indication of the presence of MS, but this is a rather atypical symptom.
Nevertheless, in the event of very strong or prolonged eye twitching, a doctor should be consulted to clarify the cause.

Can it be caused by a brain tumor?

In very rare cases, a brain tumor can be hidden behind a twitching eye.
As the tumor grows, healthy areas in the brain are compressed and displaced, which can lead to a number of symptoms.

The characteristic symptoms of a brain tumor include headache, vision problems, paralysis, or language problems.
If the tumor grows in a way that affects the cranial nerves, the eye muscles may overstimulate and twitch.

However, eye twitching is a very unspecific symptom that often has another, harmless cause.

You can read about other signs of a brain tumor in our article: Signs of a brain tumor

Concomitant symptoms

The accompanying symptoms of eyelid twitching vary greatly depending on the cause of the discomfort. If the symptoms are caused by stress, exhaustion or lack of sleep, headaches often appear as accompanying symptoms. The eyes themselves can also be burning or painful. Typically, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and poor performance also occur. Other causes, such as a lack of vitamin B12, can lead to changes in the blood. For example, anemia can be caused by the vitamin deficiency. This is also noticeable through increased tiredness, headaches and reduced performance. If an overactive thyroid is the cause of the eyelid twitching, accompanying symptoms such as weight loss, abnormal regulation of blood pressure and pulse (both are usually upregulated), sleep disorders and increased sweating can occur.

Diseases of the brain and nerves can be noticeable in addition to the twitching of the eyes through a variety of accompanying symptoms. The disease MS (multiple sclerosis) can be associated with visual disturbances. Headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting are often the first symptoms of brain diseases.

This is how to treat the eye twitch

Eye twitching caused by stress or mental tension does not need treatment.
Here it is completely sufficient for the affected person to relax and calm down.
Relaxation exercises such as autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation or yoga help reduce stress and stop the eye twitching.
A gentle massage of the upper eyelid can also help the twitching go away quickly.
To do this, you gently run your fingers over the eyelid and move your fingers outwards to your temples.

If the twitching of the eyes is due to another disease, for example a brain tumor or multiple sclerosis, an attempt is made to treat the underlying disease as well as possible.

Homeopathy for twitching eyelids

In naturopathy, there are a number of homeopathic preparations that can be used for twitching of the eyelid.
Since the twitching of the eyes is mostly due to nervousness or tension, calming agents help.
These include valerian, hop extract and passion flower.
An experienced homeopath can decide which remedy to use.

In addition, a physical cause of the eye twitching must be excluded in the case of long-lasting complaints.

Schüssler salts

Like homeopathic active ingredients, Schüssler salts are mainly used because of their anti-stress effect on eyelid twitching. A cure program can look like this: in the morning you should take potassium phosphoricum against symptoms of fatigue, at lunchtime Ferrum phosphoricum is suitable for reducing tension and in the evening you can take magnesium phosphoricum against inner restlessness. Calcium phosphoricum can also alleviate symptoms when you are exhausted.

Can Magnesium Help With Twitching Eyelids?

Magnesium plays an important role in the transmission of stimuli in the nerves and thus the functionality of our muscles.
A lack of magnesium causes muscle spasms and twitching, including in the eye muscles.
The intake of magnesium can therefore counteract a possible magnesium deficiency and stop the eye twitching.

Magnesium is not produced by our body itself and must therefore be ingested through food.
Foods rich in magnesium include lentils, corn, oatmeal, almonds and rice.
In the case of a severe deficiency, magnesium can also be taken as a dietary supplement in powder form.

Adults have a daily requirement of around 300 to 400 mg magnesium per day.

That's the diagnosis

Brief eye twitching that does not last all the time usually does not require a doctor's visit.

However, if the twitching of the eyes persists over a longer period of time or if the symptoms are very pronounced, a medical evaluation should be carried out.
The doctor examines the eye and can use a blood test to determine whether, for example, a magnesium deficiency or an overactive thyroid is responsible for the eye twitching.

If you suspect a neurological disease, such as a brain tumor or multiple sclerosis, you will be referred to the neurologist.
The neurologist uses special tests to check whether there has been damage to the nerves.
Possible masses or inflammation in the brain can be excluded by imaging procedures such as an MRI.

What does a twitching upper eyelid mean?

The upper eyelid serves to protect against foreign bodies and injuries.
Closing the eyelids properly ensures that the tear film is evenly distributed over the entire eyeball.
Twitching of the upper eyelid is due to excessive activation of the eye muscles by nerve stimuli.
The most common causes of the twitches are physical or psychological stress.

Another cause of upper eyelid twitching is nervous tics.
With tic disorder, patients twitch their eyelids, blink, blink, and make faces.
Those affected cannot arbitrarily control the sudden twitching and the psychological suffering is correspondingly high.

The most well-known tic disorder is Tourette's syndrome.

Duration of the eye twitch

Occasional eye twitching is completely harmless and can be traced back to simple eye strain or fatigue.
In most cases, the twitching doesn't last very long.
Often the annoying fluttering of the eyelids disappears after a few minutes or at the latest one or two days.

It is more problematic when the twitching of the eye muscles is due to damage in the brain.
Then it may be that the eye twitching persists for a longer period of time or, in the worst case, persists.