This is why you get random eyelid twitches

Image: Thinkstock

Every now and then, one of my eyelids decides to host a tiny, yet apparently quite raucous rave.

Okay, so there’s never actually a bass-heavy party happening inside my face, but anyone who’s ever experienced an eyelid twitch would agree that’s exactly what it feels like.

For the uninitiated, this is how it works. One minute your eyes are happy doing their thing; the next, one of them starts twitching like a cockroach that’s just inhaled Mortein. And it won’t stop. This is usually when you’re in the middle of a very serious conversation with your boss, one in which you need to employ lots of eye contact and, ideally, not look like this:

If you also have an occasional raging eyelid, you're not alone. According to Paula Katalinic, Professional Services Manager at Optometry NSW/ACT, involuntary eyelid twitches - known as eyelid myokymia - is quite a common complaint presented to optometrists and optomologists. The pulsing sensation (which, by the way, isn't as noticeable to others as you think) is caused by the orbicularis oculi muscle, which is responsible for closing your eyes.

How to protect your eyes from your iPhone

Although it'll freak you out the first time it happens - especially because it's out of your control - Paula says there's no need to be concerned about your mad twitching eye. "It’s rare that [eyelid twitching] is associated with anything serious," she explains. "The majority of times it would be caused by things like stress, tiredness, overdoing computer work in dry, air conditioned environments, or drinking too much caffeine or alcohol."


Fail-proof way to deal with your twitchy eye? Cover it with some gorgeous sunnies. These beauties are a good place to start:

For office workers, eyelid myokymia - if it's accompanied by symptoms like headaches and general eye fatigue - could indicate an underlying condition called 'dry eye', which is caused when the surface of the eye lacks moisture. This can result from long periods in front of a computer, as we naturally blink less when looking at a screen.

This is what happens when you leave your contacts in too long

Generally the twitching - which in most cases affects the lower eyelid - will only last for a couple of hours, or a couple of days if you're unlucky. However, it can persist for up to 3 weeks. Your twitch will generally resolve itself, but there are some things you can do to help soothe your eyes and generally make you feel less deranged.

"Sometimes putting a cold, clean washer on the eye, or using some lubricating eye drops could help resolve it," Paula suggests. Getting more sleep or cutting back on the coffee (...sorry) can also help prevent it happening in future.

The 7 essential makeup rules for women who wear glasses

Unless the twitching spreads to other parts of your face and doesn't self-resolve, Paula says there's no need to consult an optometrist or optomologist - but it could serve as a timely reminder to visit them for your bi-annual screening. Not that'd you'd put it off or anything, right?

Have you ever experienced the dreaded eye twitch? Do you find anything helps to soothe it?