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Twitching eyes

"My eyes keep twitching - it looks as if I'm winking at people"

Uncontrollable twitching of the muscles round the eyes is called blepharospasm or myokymia. Only the eyelid may be affected, or the sufferer may keep blinking and closing the eyes repeatedly, or there may be spasms of not being able to open the eyes for a few moments or for longer periods. Sometimes the muscles of the lower face and the jaw are involved as well, so that trying to open the eyes causes these muscles to contract into a grimace. The twitching may be worse when the individual is tired or under stress, and it is often aggravated by bright or flickering light (such as that from a TV) or irritants such as smoke or wind.
 
Blepharospasm is not a dangerous condition, because it does not spread to other muscles of the body, but it can be embarrassing not to have control over one's facial expression. It is probably caused by a fault in the part of the brain that controls movements (the basal ganglia).
 
Although stress makes it worse, relaxation techniques do not seem to help. In fact, there is no cure, but it can be improved by tiny injections of botulinum toxin into the affected muscles. For this treatment, your GP would have to refer you to a neurology department specializing in movement disorders. The treatment has to be repeated several times a year.
 

Written by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Edited by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Last updated: Wednesday, December 1st 2010

 


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Comments on this article

Posted by Optional on 27/11/2014 at 09:49

I have a irritating feeling in my eyes, espessially when I'm under lots of stres its worse, it causes that I have a need to twitch, why the irritating feeling? I have this problem since my early childhood. I also have this irritating feeling in other facial places and my hands etc...

Posted by SOPHIYA on 16/09/2010 at 05:10

I DONT KNOW IF THIS IS TWITCHING BUT WHEN I KEEP MY EYES OPEN, IT KINDA TWITCHES A REALLY TINY BIT ON TOP OF THEEYE. ITS USUALLY MY LEFT EYE THAT DOSE IT. NOBODY NOTICES CUZ ITS NOT REALLY A BIG TWITCH.

Posted by Anonymous on 09/07/2009 at 07:29

I have a severe twitch where I have to shake my head in a very short and quick side to side movement. It gives me headaches and everyone just puts it down to stress, but I dont think it is. The doctors have given me de-stressting techniques which dont work. It is almost like non-verbal tourettes! HELP!

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