What is twitching eyelid or an eyelid spasm?
There are 3 different types of eyelid spasms.
- Eyelid Twitch: is an involuntary small and quick move of part of the eyelid. It is common and not of concern. It usually resolves spontaneously in few days. It may be associated to stress, fatigue or excess of caffeine. Eyelid twitches do not require treatment.
- Essential Blepharospasm: is a condition in what both eyes involuntarily show increased blink rate that can lead eventually to closing the eyelids and also squeezing the muscles around the eyes. It can last for few seconds to hours. It can also affect other muscles of the face and neck. It is a rare condition but can be incapacitating. The ultimate cause of this condition is unknown.
- Hemifacial Spasm: is a condition where one side of your face constricts involuntarily. It can involve closure of your eyelids, and spasm at the cheek, mouth, and neck. It can last days or even months. It is caused by the compression of the facial nerve.
Is there any risk factor for these conditions?
Not a known one.
Eyelid twitching may be associated with stress, excess of caffeine, or lack of sleep.
Essential blepharospasm seems to be more frequent in females and at late age. But the ultimate cause is unknown.
How are they Diagnosed?
These three conditions are mostly diagnosed by a careful clinical evaluation. Occasionally in hemifacial spasms, MRI are ordered to better asses facial nerves.
How are they treated?
- Eyelid twitch: it is a benign condition that resolves by itself in few days and do not require treatment. Decrease stress, caffeine intake and rest in case of lack of sleep may help.
- Essential blepharospasm: there are different options but the most effective and commonly used is the botulinum toxin injections. This medication is injected in very small amounts in the muscles around the eye and relaxes them. These injections are required to be repeated every 3-4 months. Other options are medication or surgery if the prior do not work.
- Hemifacial Spasm: injections of botulinum toxin is the most common treatment. This relaxes the facial muscle involved. If the injections do not work medications or surgery can be an option.
Patricia Martinez, MD
Patricia Martinez Lehmann MD, is a board- eligible comprehensive ophthalmologist and eye surgeon treating patients throughout Blue Bell, Hatboro, North Wales and Bethlehem Pennsylvania. Dr Martinez is originally from Spain. She trained as an ophthalmologist in Barcelona (Spain) and worked there in comprehensive eye care for 10 years before moving to the US in 2010 for family reasons. She loved and missed her profession so much that in order to return to the clinical practice here in America she completed a one year glaucoma research fellowship at Wills Eye Hospital and 4 years of another ophthalmology residency at Drexel University / Hahnemann Hospital (Philadelphia) and West Virginia University Eye Institute ( Morgantown). Dr Martinez areas of expertise include cataract surgery, management of glaucoma and dry eye disease. Dr Martinez speaks English and Spanish.