Right Eye Twitching: What Does It Mean When Your Eye Twitches
Having a twitch in your right eye can be very uncomfortable and embarrassing. When your right eyelid starts twitching and jumping involuntary and you can’t stop it, people may even look at you funny – especially if they think that you are winking at them! Repetitive spasms of your eyelid muscle can affect your right or left eye and can even affect both eyes at the same time. Thankfully, the causes of eye twitching are usually harmless and are fairly common.
One of the most common causes of twitches in your right eye is tiredness and stress. Usually, getting enough rest and relaxing is enough to stop your right or left eye twitching and jumping. However, there are other reasons for your eyelid to blink repeatedly. These irritating eye twitches can be linked to consuming too much caffeine, having dry eyes, or even a vitamin deficiency.
Interestingly, some cultures associate right eye twitching with various superstitions. They even say that the time of day when your eye twitches is a sign that something will happen. In this article, we will look at the medical reasons for twitching eyelids and what you can do to stop the muscle spasms.
What Are Eyelid Twitches (Eyelid Spasms)?
The medical name for eyelid twitching is blepharospasm. The National Eye Institute describes blepharospasm as “an abnormal, involuntary blinking or spasm of the eyelids.”1 Other people refer to eyelid twitches as eyelid spasms, eyelid myokymia, or eyelid tics.
Usually, only one of your eyes is affected by eyelid spasms, so it may have a twitch in your right eyelid only or just in your left eyelid.
According to Dr. Melinda Ratini on WebMD, usually the upper eyelid blinks and you can’t make the twitching stop. The spasm can be so strong, that you right eyelid completely closes and reopens.2 However, sometimes it’s the lower eyelid of your right eye that starts twitching uncontrollably. For some people, this eye twitching happens for a few hours then disappears. Other people suffer from a chronic and persistent eye twitch all day long and it can go on for days and even months.
Although the causes of eye twitching are harmless, there are some neurological conditions that affect the left or right eye muscle causing it to spasm. These are:
Hemifacial spasm. Dr. Colin Tidy on Patient.info explains that hemifacial spasm starts off as involuntary twitching around the eye. The muscle spasms can become worse and may spread to other muscles on the face. Hemifacial spasms usually cause left eye twitching, although the right eye can also be affected. Usually, the annoying twitch only affects one side of the face.3
Blepharospasm. Although some doctors refer to eye twitching in general as blepharospasm, this is actually a chronic condition. Dr. Robert Graham on Medscape.com says that blepharospasm can get progressively worse and the twitching has to be managed properly to prevent permanent damage.4
However, both of these problems are very rare and involve muscle spasms in more places than just your eyelids.
Sometimes, eyelid twitching can be caused by serious medical conditions like:
- Blepharitis (inflamed eyelids)
- Dry eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Pink eye
If you notice that your right or left eye twitching is associated with other symptoms like muscle spasms in your face, redness or swelling in the eye, discharge from the affected eye, or if your eye completely closes, you should see a doctor right away.
Right Eye Twitching – Causes and Home Remedies
Let’s look at some reasons why your right eye twitches and what home remedies you can use to stop the irritating right eyelid twitching. Of course, if you have an uncontrollable wink in your left eye, the home remedies mentioned below will also help to relieve the muscle spasms.
Right eye twitching is a common sign of stress. Stress can affect your body in many different ways and one of the negative side effects of stress is that it causes muscles to tense up. The area around your eyes is very sensitive and is easily affected by stress.
If you are under prolonged psychological or emotional stress, don’t be surprised if one or both of your eyelids won’t stop twitching.
To help stop right eye twitching that is caused by stress, you need to resolve the reason for stress in your body. There are many natural remedies that can help treat the symptoms of stress. For example in my article on the best home remedies for stress relief, you can find out how St John’s Wort, bergamot essential oil, and ginger can help relieve stress.
Many people have found relief from stress by using essential oils. These may not cure your eyelid twitch right away, but it will help to de-stress you and eventually the twitch in your eye will disappear.
You could also try meditating to help you relax and get rid of tense muscles that can cause twitching. This is just one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health. You can even try meditating without even sitting down or try yoga to reduce your stress levels without medication and stop the annoying eyelid twitches.
Lack of sleep
Another cause of left or right eye twitching or eyelid tic is a lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation has a negative effect on your body and there are many associated dangers with a lack of sleep. So, if you frequently wake up in the morning tired with a twitching right eye, you could be suffering from a lack of sleep.
The cure for an eyelid twitch caused by not having enough sleep is to try and enjoy a peaceful night’s rest. Of course, stress, anxiety, or daily worries can make it difficult to know how to fall asleep quickly.
Dr. Jennifer Robinson on WebMD recommends some practical tips to make falling asleep easier:5
- Try to wake up at the same time every day.
- Avoid stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine if you have problems sleeping.
- Enjoy regular exercise, but don’t exercise at least 3 hours before going to bed.
- Limit activities in bed to sleeping and intimacy with your partner.
- Don’t use electronic gadgets at least 2 hours before going to bed.
You can also try these foods or these herbs for better sleep or use essential oils to help combat insomnia. Dr. Weil advises trying some breathing techniques to relax your mind and help make falling asleep easier. You can also try my natural soothing drink for a better night’s sleep.
Caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol
Caffeine, smoking, and alcohol could all be contributing factors to your twitching right eye. These products have a stimulating or depressant effect that can cause involuntary blinking or winking in one eye.
If you smoke and frequently have a twitching eye, you should stop smoking. Of course, stopping smoking has more health benefits than resolving an annoying fluttering eyelid. To help you stop smoking naturally, I’ve written an article on scientific research into how to quit smoking without medication.
Too much caffeine can stimulate your nerves and cause your eyelid to jump. You could try swapping your second or third cup of coffee in the day for a more relaxing herbal tea or fruit-infused water. This will not only help stop eyelid twitching but will give you more energy and prevent the consequences of dehydration.
Dry eyes could be the cause of your right eyelid twitching. There are a number of causes for dry eyes and these can combine to make your eye jump uncontrollably and more frequently.
According to doctors at the Mayo Clinic, dry eyes cause eye twitching.6 They also say that other causes of dry eyes are a lack of sleep, aging, an underlying medical condition, sitting at a computer for too long, or dry air.7
One of the best ways to relieve dry eyes and stop eyelid twitches is to use a warm compress on the affected eye. You can make an easy eye compress by using an old tea bag. The best kind of tea bags to use is chamomile tea or black tea. Chamomile is a natural soothing ingredient that can also reduce inflammation in dry eyes. Black tea is an astringent that can help to tighten the muscles and skin around your eyelid.
If your eye keeps twitching it could be because of the amount of time you spend at the computer, watching TV, or driving. These activities cause eye strain which can result in twitching in your right or left eye.
Eye strain-related twitching could also be caused by vision problems. So, even something as simple as getting your eyesight tested could be the first step to resolving your eyelid tic. You can also improve your vision by trying these simple eye exercises.
If your job requires that you concentrate at a computer screen for most of the day, you should give your eyes a break every so often. This helps to relax your vision and the muscles around your eyes to prevent muscle spasms and eyelid twitching.
So, every hour or so, take a 5-minute break from your computer and try to focus your eyes on an object in the distance. If your job allows for it, getting outside in the sunshine is a great way to relax, refocus your eyes, and say goodbye to the irritating eyelid twitch
A frequent upper eyelid twitch in your left or right eye could be caused by a nutritional deficiency.
Potassium. Potassium deficiency could be the reason why your right eye is twitching. Potassium is needed in the body for the proper function of cells, tissue, and organs.
According to the University of Maryland, potassium is an electrolyte that plays a key role in smooth muscle contraction.8 So, if you have muscle spasms (including eyelid spasms) you should make sure your diet contains enough potassium.
You can learn more about a potassium deficiency in my article about potassium deficiency – causes, symptoms and what to do.
Magnesium. If you have an annoying right eye twitch that you just can’t get rid of, it could be caused by a lack of magnesium.
Doctors on WebMD say that magnesium is needed for all your muscles and nerves to function smoothly and helps regulate many functions in the body.9 Magnesium prevents uncontrolled muscle spasms such as eyelid tics.
Prevent eyelid twitching by making sure your diet contains enough magnesium-rich foods, please read my article on how to identify the signs of a magnesium deficiency and how to resolve it.
Calcium is an important mineral for a healthy nervous system. A study in the journal Biology of the Cell reported that proper calcium levels are needed for smooth muscle cell tone and keeping the central nervous system working properly.10 So, having a calcium-rich diet is necessary to make sure that you don’t have twitching eyelids.
Of course, your body needs the proper balance of vitamins and minerals to prevent twitching nerves and muscle spasms. Usually, one supplement alone isn’t enough to cure your twitching. For example, without magnesium, calcium may not be fully absorbed by the body. However, vitamin K2 and vitamin D are also necessary for proper calcium absorption. So, it’s essential to recognize the synergy between different nutrients and use the proper combination of them to maximize their health benefits.
There are many excellent alternatives to dairy sources of calcium which can help to prevent eyelid tics and osteoporosis. You can also consume these 10 foods to improve and protect your eyesight.
Allergies may be causing either your left or right eye to twitch. Environmental irritants can cause itching, swelling, and watery eyes. In these cases, rubbing your eyes can cause eyelid twitching. The journal Case Reports in Neurological Medicine reported on a case of a person with chronic allergic conjunctivitis who developed chronic blepharospasm.11
To prevent eye twitching, try to identify the allergen and do what you can to eliminate the source. Of course, you should avoid rubbing your eyes which will irritate them further. You can also try some excellent essential oils for allergy relief.
Right Eye Twitching – When to See a Doctor
The home remedies for eyelid twitching in this article should help to resolve most cases. However, if you can’t get rid of the twitches in your eyelid, you should see a doctor or optometrist for an examination.
So, if your right of left eye twitching becomes a chronic condition and lasts for several weeks or months, you should see a doctor. This is to rule out the possibility that the muscle spasms aren’t caused by a neurological disorder.
Doctors from the Mayo Clinic advise that you always see a doctor for a twitching eyelid if you have the following symptoms:12
- Your eye completely closes or it’s difficult to open your eye.
- Other parts of your face twitch as well as your eyelid.
- Your eye becomes red, swollen, or has discharge.
- You have a drooping eyelid.
Damage to your eye’s cornea can also cause a chronic eye twitch and can cause permanent eye damage. If you suspect injury to the protective lens on the front of the iris, you should see a doctor immediately.
Read these related articles:
- 10 Health Warnings Your Eyes May Be Sending
- Top 10 Foods and Herbs to Improve and Protect Your Eyesight
- Warning Signs of Heart Disease Can Be Detected In Your Eyes
- NEI. Facts about blepharospasm.
- WebMD. Why does my eye twitch?
- PatientInfo. Hemifacial spasm.
- Medscape. Benign essential blepharospasm treatment & management.
- WebMD. 10 Tips to beat insomnia.
- MayoClinic. Eye twitching – causes.
- MayoClinic. Dry eyes – causes.
- UMM. Potassium.
- WebMD. Magnesium.
- Biol Cell. 2004 Feb;96(1):79-91.
- Case Rep Neurol Med. 2014;2014:928486
- MayoClinc. Eye twitching. When to see a doctor.