How to get rid of a nervous tic in the eye
January 23, 2004 2:42 AM   Subscribe

I've had a nervous twitch in my left eye for four days now, and it's driving me mad. Any tips for getting rid?
posted by ascullion to Health & Fitness (21 answers total)
posted by seanyboy at 2:53 AM on January 23, 2004

Whenever I have something like that it usually means I have to cut down on caffeine.

And get some sleep indeed.
posted by sebas at 3:45 AM on January 23, 2004

When you say, "in my left eye", do you mean your eyeball is actually twitching in your socket? If no, I usually massage around the edge of my socket to abate a twitch that I have had occasionally for years.
posted by Dick Paris at 4:31 AM on January 23, 2004

I was treated twice by an acupuncturist for the same thing, and it's never happened again. But sleep and less caffeine are also very helpful.
posted by pomegranate at 6:13 AM on January 23, 2004

I sometimes have the same problem, and it's entirely stress-related for me, but there is a more persistent condition called Bell's Palsy that can manifest this symptom. It is treated with steroids if severe. See a physician if it persists for a long time, but meanwhile, chill out!
posted by briank at 6:33 AM on January 23, 2004

four days? yikes. it sounds like you're exhausted. i only get the eye twitchy thing when i'm dead on my feet. then the hiccups start.

can you chill out this weekend and catch up on your sleep?
posted by heather at 6:36 AM on January 23, 2004

I was once told by my doctor that I should take more Vitamin B (I think he said B12). It worked. I've also heard that magnesium is good too.
posted by KathyK at 6:59 AM on January 23, 2004

I had this issue and it was potassium as I recall. Eat a banana and cut out the caffeine.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 7:01 AM on January 23, 2004

also magnesium
posted by Fupped Duck at 7:06 AM on January 23, 2004

Potasium helps. Eat bananas.
posted by Wulfgar! at 7:14 AM on January 23, 2004

Just to clarify.. it's kind of at the bottom of my left eye.. I can't tell if the eyeball is jumping up in its socket, or whether the twitch is from the sky around it.

Also - I've actually had more sleep in the past week than I've had in the last two months! But I am a bit wound up. Thanks for all the help so far, it's much appreciated.
posted by ascullion at 7:38 AM on January 23, 2004

Try cutting down on computer use and reading for a while. Close-up work causes eye strain. If you can't stop using a computer, at least take frequent breaks.

(Note: I am not an optometrist.)
posted by hyperizer at 7:43 AM on January 23, 2004 [1 favorite]

are you grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw? that's usually what causes my eye to twitch. the only solution is to relax the jaw muscle, which takes a huge amount of concentration.

or valium.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:19 AM on January 23, 2004

From what I've read, twitching is related to an electrolyte deficiency--so try a multivitamin for your potassium and magnesium levels. Bell's palsy is a temporary facial paralysis (usually on one side of the face) due to a pinched nerve. Don't think it has anything to do with twitching.
posted by gramcracker at 8:30 AM on January 23, 2004

Most doctors I've asked--I get twitches like this too--have told me that unless the twitch goes on for an unusually long time, say a couple of weeks at least, the only true treatment is, as one put it, "tincture of time."

Having wasted $85 of my money for that expert opinion, I nearly twitched my fist into his face.
posted by WolfDaddy at 8:59 AM on January 23, 2004

I used to get this a lot in my (slightly) younger, more athletic, life and would also suggest it's related to an electrolyte deficiency. It was always cured by rest, cutting out diuretics (caffeine, alcohol) and rehydration. So, get a couple of good night's sleep, drink lots of water and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
posted by normy at 10:28 AM on January 23, 2004

I find that gentle pressure directly on the twitchy part sometimes helps, as does massaging the temples and eyesockets.

And hey, if it doesn't work, you still get a free massage out of the deal.
posted by ook at 10:42 AM on January 23, 2004

My eyes only do this when I'm majorly stressed...
posted by twine42 at 4:40 PM on January 23, 2004

Ease up on the cocaine.
posted by monkeyman at 1:06 PM on January 24, 2004

blepharospasm: Blepharo means "eyelid". Spasm means "uncontrolled muscle contraction". The term blepharospasm ['blef-a-ro-spaz-m] can be applied to any abnormal blinking or eyelid tic or twitch resulting from any cause, ranging from dry eyes to Tourette's syndrome to tardive dyskinesia. The blepharospasm referred to here is officially called benign essential blepharospasm (BEB) to distinguish it from the less serious secondary blinking disorders. "Benign" indicates the condition is not life threatening, and "essential" is a medical term meaning "of unknown cause". It is both a cranial and a focal dystonia. Cranial refers to the head and focal indicates confinement to one part. The word dystonia describes abnormal involuntary sustained muscle contractions and spasms. Patients with blepharospasm have normal eyes. The visual disturbance is due solely to the forced closure of the eyelids.
posted by piskycritter at 6:49 PM on January 24, 2004

Yep. Blepharospasm is related to stress / anxiety. It's very common, and usually transient. People who have prolonged blepharospasm or severe forms have benefited from botox injection.
posted by mert at 9:18 AM on January 25, 2004

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