Why is my eye twitching?

Why is my eye twitching?

It’s an unusual feeling that we’ve all had from time to time, and it seems to happen for no real reason. But as this post (put together by our head office team) discusses, eye twitching could be a sign of something else.

Most adults have experienced the annoyance of a twitching eye. Usually, it goes away on its own after a few seconds or minutes. But sometimes – very rarely – an eyelid twitch is the sign of a more serious underlying condition.

Eyelid twitches or eyelid spasms can affect the upper or lower eyelid, but most frequently, it only affects the lower eyelid. Eyelid twitches are more common in middle-aged women, but no one knows why.

Why is my eyelid twitching? Blame the orbicularis oculi.

Eye twitching happens when the fine muscles of the eyelid (called the ‘orbicularis oculi’) involuntarily and repeatedly contract. The medical term for this is ‘eyelid myokymia.’

Many of the triggers of eyelid twitching are lifestyle related. Some of the known causes are…

Eye strain

Long periods of staring at your computer screen and bright lights cause eye twitches as you hold your eyelid muscles tightly for extended periods of time. Remember the 20-20-20 rule, take a 20 second break from the screen every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away. 

You need an eye test

If your eyelids frequently twitch when you’re reading or focusing close-up, it could be a sign that you need a new prescription for your glasses. In cases like this, your eye muscles are doing extra work to provide the focus you require. This extra burden can create minor spasms of the eyelid muscles.  


The link between stress and an eyelid spasm is well known. Stress causes muscle tension, muscle spasms and micromovements from extended muscle tension. Sometimes you might even notice the stress in your facial muscles, it can appear as facial spasms or just eyelid spasms. This causes eyelid twitch.

Often others notice your eye twitches before you do because they show your stress condition to others. Although life is often stressful, and hard to get away from, it’s important to do what you can to treat the underlying cause. Activities such as exercise, yoga or hobbies are often recommended as good ways to lower tension and stress. 

Lack of sleep

The eyelids are the most sensitive muscles in the body, especially the upper eyelid, so even small imbalances can disrupt them. When you don’t get an adequate amount of sleep, your eyes feel tired and the muscles will twitch.

Dry eyes

Irritated, gritty, dry eye conditions that create eye irritation can contribute to eyelid twitching. Dry eye lubricants are often prescribed to moisturise the eyes which will, in turn, relax the eyelid muscles and stop the twitching.


The most commonly used drug in the world, caffeine, can increase your heart rate and elevate your metabolism. Caffeine can also trigger your facial nerve, especially the upper eyelids causing our eyes to twitch. Your sensitive eyelid muscles are much more susceptible to the effects of caffeine than most other muscles in the body. If you find your eyelids twitching frequently after use of caffeine, lower the amount and frequency.  

Drugs or medications

Some medications can cause eye twitching and eyelid spasms or minor eyelid twitches. If you are concerned that a drug you have been prescribed causes eye twitching, ask your health care provider about the ocular side effects.

Like any other changes to your body, it is helpful to keep track of when your eyelids are twitching, always check for minor eye twitches and to make a point of noticing any of the contributing factors. 

This could potentially help when speaking to us to see if we can determine a pattern which can provide the key to alleviating the problem. 

More serious conditions

It is worth repeating – usually, (almost always), eye twitching is temporary and nothing to worry about. In fact, worrying about it can exacerbate the frequency of it.

However, when eye twitching is persistent, lasts longer than a week, a visit to us is recommended.

We will then be able to differentiate the eye twitch from more serious conditions that could require further treatment.

This website does not provide medical advice.  It is intended for informational purposes only.  It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment.  If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately dial Triple 0 (000).

Why is my eye twitching?