Isn’t it amazing how you could just be sitting idle, possibly reading a book or even just staring at the ceiling, and your eyes just start twitching uncontrollably? The twitching just kicks off without any initial prompt from you: you haven’t rubbed your eyelids, picked at your eye lashes, used any eye drops or even just rolled your eyes.
Eye twitches, eyelid tics, and spasms are pretty common, but they also can be a little curious and make you think about a lot of different things – especially if you are the superstitious kind. For instance, in Nigeria, your left eye twitching would mean that something bad is about to happen: possibly death, loss of money, or heartbreak. Naturally, the thought of that you would get you completely worried, troubled and stressed. The right eye twitching, on the other hand, would mean something good is about to happen to you, you are about to cry tears of joy or witness a celebration and that would, of course, get you excited but also anxious.
Unfortunately, while these superstitions are quite interesting and sometimes even work, they are hardly the real reason your eyes are twitching. It may be a hard pill to swallow, but there may be no spiritual or supernatural thing going on, and the body is only doing what it knows best to do: give you signs and symptoms based on its reaction to stimuli (external or internal). There is an actual medical term for it – “myokymia“, and this means that it is recognized as a condition with traceable causes. Usually, it involves only the lower eyelid of one eye, but the upper eyelid also can twitch. Again, the period of twitching could vary, lasting for as little a few minutes to as long as days and even months.
Fortunately, almost all sudden-onset eyelid twitching is painless, harmless, and not serious or a sign of a medical problem. They are triggered by stress, tiredness, eye strain (too much pressing of phone), caffeine, alcohol, dry eyes, nutritional imbalances or allergies, and always goes away either on their own. In rare cases where it persists and won’t go away, the twitching spreads and affects half of your face, as well as your eyelid. Spasms are in more than just one eyelid, or both eyelids clamp down tight, so it’s impossible to open your eyes, please visit your doctor. There is a high chance it is as a result of something serious.
No matter how long the twitching lasts, it is wise to try and figure out what triggered it. That way, you able to detect accurately its cause and work on fixing it. The fact that it is not a serious problem does not mean it should be neglected.
For instance, twitching caused by allergies lets you know when to take an antihistamine or use anti-allergy eye drops, and also informs you on what substance you are allergic to, so that you can avoid them next time. Likewise, stress-induced twitching could be an indicator that you need to slow down or take a break, and if you just ignore the twitching after it goes away and go on with the normal routine, your body may become overworked and out of the blues, you just slump one day or get diagnosed with something as horrible as ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’.
Bottom line: discard the idea that you eye twitching is a sign of good luck of bad luck. Superstition is never the real reason your eye is twitching. Instead, getting checked and using related remedies to fix harmless twitching will ensure you avoid more serious problems down the road.
Ignoring it, on the other hand, may encourage your body to up the ante next time, with a more agonising or inconvenient cautionary sign.
Photo Credit: Paul Hakimata | Dreamstime