It’s tough to look cool when you’ve got a twitchy eye. And yes, you can quote me. Seriously, what is up with that?

In case you’ve been spared, you can just be binge-watching Workin’ Moms, and next thing you know, there’s this weird flicking sensation in your eye. A doctor might explain an eyelid twitch (or myokymia) as a repetitive, involuntary spasm of the eyelid muscles. A twitch usually occurs in the upper lid, but it can occur in both the upper and lower lids.

For most people, these unpredictable spasms are very mild, last a few seconds or a couple of minutes, and feel like a little eyelid tug; some people have blepharospasm that causes both eyelids to close completely. What causes these? Heck if I know. It’s weird. If I’m really tired, I’ve been reading or using the computer a lot, or I’m more stressed than usual, I notice them with some frequency. I’ve heard some people say caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco will bring them on as well.

The even more strange benign essential blepharospasm (the blinking in both eyes) is actually more common in women than in men, and, according to Genetics Home Reference, it affects approximately 50,000 Americans and usually develops in the middle to late adulthood. The condition will likely worsen over time, and it may eventually cause blurry vision, increased sensitivity to light and even facial spasms.

If the eye twitches become more frequent and seem more serious, it’s probably time to reach out to the doctor as in extremely rare cases; it can signal a serious brain or nerve disorder. Contact your doctor if you’re having chronic eyelid spasms along with any of the following symptoms:

  • Your eye is red, swollen, or has an unusual discharge.
  • Your upper eyelid is drooping.
  • Your eyelid completely closes each time your eyelids twitch.
  • The twitching continues for several weeks.
  • The twitching begins affecting other parts of your face.

Thankfully, most folks will just experience the annoying twitch. You can probably follow the advice of the old comedy routine, “Does it hurt when you do that? Don’t do that.” If your eyes twitch when you’re exhausted or stressed, have had too much alcohol or coffee, cut back on that stuff! You can also use some over-the-counter artificial tears/eye drops or a warm cloth for relief.

Otherwise, wait a couple of minutes and return to binge-watching.

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