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Eye and Vision Care

Twitching and ache under eye

07/18/2005

Question:

For over two weeks, an area under my right eye has been twitching, near the point at which the eye socket meets the cheekbone. I first noticed this twitching in the mirror while shaving. The twitching is constant at a rate of several twitches a second. If I stretch my face into a exaggerated smile for a few seconds and then release it, the twitching stops for about 5-10 seconds, then starts right back up again. I`ve tried applying ice to the area, but it has no effect. Lately, there has been a mild ache in that area --I imagine because it`s fatiguing the muscle. What could be causing this non-stop twitching? Is there anything I can do to treat it myself? I`ve heard of stress causing intermittent eye-twitching, but have never experienced a non-stop twitching like this under the eye.

Answer:

Eyelid twitching is called blepharospasm (BLEF-r-o-SPA-sim) and is usually caused by eyelid muscle fatigue. Things you can try to rest the muscles around your eye are (1) stop all caffeine in coffee, tea, chocolate, colas, etc), (2) get more sleep, and (3) use warm compresses - not ice - on the area affected. If these first aid measures do not resolve the problem in a week, see your eye doctor.

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Response by:

Robert D Newcomb, OD, MPH, FAAO Robert D Newcomb, OD, MPH, FAAO
Professor Emeritus of Clinical Optometry
College of Optometry
The Ohio State University