Overview: Eyelid Spasms
Eyelid twitches or spasms are a condition that bothers many patients. There are three main forms:
- Simple eyelid twitch: These are usually unilateral slight spasms or the upper or lower eyelid. It is a benign condition that is associated with poor sleep, high caffeine intake, stress, and dry eye disease.
- Essential blepharospasm: This is a typically bilateral condition which causes a contraction of the muscles around the eyes. It may feel like you are involuntarily squeezing your eyes shut and can be very bothersome. Essential blepharospasm is thought to be caused by abnormal signals from the part of the brain that controls movement.
- Hemifacial spasm: A rare condition, hemifacial spasms involve the involuntary contraction and closure of the entire side of the face (eyes, cheeks, mouth, and neck). It is caused by an abnormality in the cranial nerve supplying the face muscles.
Diagnosis is made entirely from a thorough history from the patient and by performing a focused examination by the ophthalmologist.
Treatment is highly specific to each patient and the type of twitch they have. Potential options include lifestyle changes, BOTOX injections, and surgery. Fortunately, the treatments available are generally very effective and are almost always covered by insurance. If you suffer from frequent or bothersome eyelid twitches, a thorough evaluation by Dr. Joseph can help guide the best course.