What Causes Eye Twitching?

Everything from allergies to stress to magnesium deficiency can cause eye twitches. Here are some possible causes — and what you can do.

Close up of woman's eye

Possible Causes: Allergies, caffeine, eyestrain, stress, lack of sleep; may be a sign of a neurological disorder in rare cases

Stress, fatigue, and caffeine can all trigger involuntary contractions of the eye muscles, hence the tendency of twitches to occur at inopportune times — during a big presentation, for instance, or a first date.

Allergies and dry eyes can also cause eye twitching, says functional-medicine practitioner Amy Savagian, MD. Likewise, digital eye strain (DES) can trigger the contractions. (More than half of all regular computer users experience DES, according to some estimates.) Magnesium deficiency may be another factor. “Low magnesium is associated with cramps and irritated muscles,” says Savagian.

What You Can Do: Prioritize sleep, go easy on caffeine, and look away from your computer every 20 minutes or so. Magnesium supplements can ease stress and promote restful sleep, which may help prevent twitching. If the condition persists longer than a week, other muscles on your face or body join in, or your eyelids droop, consult a doctor.

This originally appeared in “What Your Body Is Trying to Tell You, Part 3” in the July/August 2019 print issue of Experience Life.

FMCHC, is a functional-medicine health coach and health journalist in Minneapolis.

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