Left Eye Twitching: What Does It Mean When Your Eye Twitches

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Left Eye Twitching: What Does It Mean When Your Eye Twitches
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Left eye twitching caused by a muscle spasm can be a disturbing condition that makes you self-conscious. Having a chronic eyelid tic or twitch in your left eye has many causes. Thankfully, it’s very rare that twitching in your left eye or right eye means that you have a serious medical condition. A lack of sleep, stress, eye strain, too much caffeine, or dry eyes are just some of the simple conditions that can cause left eye muscle spasms.

To stop twitching in your left eye or right eye you’ll need to address the underlying cause. For example, learning how to cope with stress better or getting a good night’s sleep may be all that’s needed to relieve the tic in your right or left eyelid. If a vitamin deficiency is the cause of your left eye twitching, then eating a healthy diet and taking the appropriate supplements will boost your health and calm the left eyelid muscle contractions.

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This article looks at the meaning behind left eyelid twitches and what you can do to stop the annoying tic. You will also find out when the twitching eyelid could be a sign of something more serious.

What is Eye Twitching?

In years gone by, eyelid twitching was associated with various superstitions. If your left eye twitched it could mean anything from good luck to meeting a close friend or even having a greater risk of getting an infection! Thankfully, medical research has put those theories to rest and explain what eye twitching really means.

The National Eye Institute says that the medical name for twitching of either eyelid is blepharospasm or myokymia. This is caused by a group of neurons in the brain which controls eye movement and the muscles in the eye. Various conditions can lead to involuntary blinking or twitching of the left eyelid or right eyelid.1

Dr. Phillip Rizzuto from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) reports that eyelid twitching can also affect both eyes at the same time. The twitching in your eyelids could last a few minutes or even up to a few hours. The muscle spasms can cause your eyes to blink or wink so much that it can even interfere with your daily activities.2

According to Dr. Melinda Ratini on WebMD, eye twitching is usually harmless and doesn’t cause pain. In time, the eyelid spasms go away on their own.3

Causes of Left Eye Twitching

Let’s look at some of the reasons why your left eye blinks or twitches involuntary and what you can do about it.

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Lack of sleep

One of the most common causes of left eye twitching is a lack of sleep. Not getting enough sleep has a negative impact on your health and trying to control an eye that constantly twitches is just one side effect. Fatigue is also one of the most common causes of lip twitching.

According to Dr. Franklin Lusby on MedlinePlus, getting enough sleep is usually enough to stop a left eyelid twitch.4 Of course, falling asleep quickly can be difficult if you have anxieties, stress, or are worried about a situation in life.

However, there are some practical ways to help you enjoy better sleep and get rid of the annoying eyelid tic. Dr. Jennifer Robinson on WebMD recommends a few easy things you can do to improve your quality of sleep:5

  • Try to wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends.
  • Remember that alcohol, coffee, and smoking are stimulants that can make falling asleep more difficult.
  • Try not to nap during the day.
  • Have a good exercise routine, but don’t exercise before going to bed.
  • Avoid eating or drinking before going to bed as that can disturb sleep patterns.
  • Try to avoid worrying about the day’s activities but have a system of dealing with stress before sleep.

To help get to sleep quicker and enjoy better “shut-eye,” you can try some foods to help you sleep better. Also, essential oils like lavender help to fight insomnia and can relax a blinking eyelid. You may want to try my delicious vanilla and cinnamon drink to help you fall asleep.

Too much stress

Too much stress is another common reason for uncontrollable blinking in your left eye. Stress can play havoc with your nervous system and can affect the nerves that control eye movement. The sensitive area around your eyes is prone to twitching if you are under a lot of stress.

Dr. Philip Rizzuto at the American Academy of Ophthalmology lists reducing stress as one of the principal ways to stop left eye or right eye twitching.2

However, getting rid of stress for good can be easier said than done. There are many natural home remedies that can reduce the signs of stress like eye twitching, palpations, and night sweats. For example, a study published in the journal BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine found that taking St John’s Wort daily had an anti-stress and anti-anxiety effect.6

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Essential oils also have a powerful effect on helping to reduce the physical effects of stress and anxiety. Among these are bergamot essential oil, lavender oil, and chamomile. You can also try eating more ginger for its stress-relieving properties.

Caffeine, smoking, and alcohol cause eye twitching

Drinking too much coffee, alcohol, or smoking can all lead to an annoying twitch in your left eye. If your nerves or facial muscles are over stimulated, you may find that a twitch develops in one of your eyes.

Alcohol also has a depressing effect on the central nervous system and doctors from the Mayo Clinic mention alcohol as well as smoking as an eye twitch trigger.7

If you have an annoying eyelid that frequently twitches, you should try switching to caffeine-free drinks. Rather than drinking coffee throughout the day, why not try a soothing cup of chamomile tea to calm your nerves and stop your eyelid constantly blinking. Or you could try one of my delicious fruit-infused water drinks to help keep yourself well hydrated.

Of course, you should stop smoking to avoid serious health consequences like lung cancer or other life-threatening diseases. You can find helpful, research-based advice on how to stop smoking naturally on this website.

Eye strain

Spending a lot of time in front of a computer or T.V. screen can strain your eyes and cause an eyelid twitch to develop. In fact, any kind of eye strain can cause a fluttering eyelid that you can’t stop.

If you find that your left eye twitching or you have a right eyelid tic without a discernable cause, it is good to find out if eye strain is the cause. Sometimes, getting your eyes tested can reveal that your vision has deteriorated, thus causing your eye to twitch. You could also try strengthening your eye with exercises, or consuming these nutrients to improve your eyesight.

If you have to constantly concentrate on a screen at work, Dr. William Blahd on WebMD recommends the following to prevent straining your eyes:

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  • Make sure the screen is at arm’s length from your body and lower than your eye level.
  • Use the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, focus your eyes for 20 seconds on an object at least 20 feet away.
  • Make sure the air in your room isn’t too dry.
  • The light in the room should be brighter than your screen.
  • Adjust the contrast and size of letters on the screen to prevent eye strain.

If eye strain is the cause of your eye jumping, helping to reduce your eye strain will help resolve the eyelid muscle spasms. It will also prevent your eyes becoming too dry.

Dry eyes

An uncontrollable twitch in your left eye could be due to having dry eyes. Many conditions can cause dry eyes and these can result in one or both eyes having a twitch.

According to Dr. Melissa Ratini, eye twitching caused by dry eyes is a serious eye condition. This can cause your left eye to constantly wink or squint and it may be difficult to keep your eye open. Your right eyelid could also be affected.3

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that other causes of dry eyes that can lead to an eyelid twitch are aging, a side effect of some medications, diabetes, sitting for long periods at a computer screen, or tear gland inflammation.9

You can help to relieve dry eyes by using a soothing chamomile tea bag eye compress to help relax your eyes and stop them twitching so much. Another way to use your old tea bags is to place a used black tea bag on your eyes to relieve a twitch. Black tea contains natural astringent agents that can help to tighten up the skin around your eyes.

Nutritional deficiencies

If you have chronic eyelid twitching in either or both of your eyes, it could be due to a nutritional deficiency. There are 3 main nutrients that can cause twitching eyelids – potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

Potassium. The University of Maryland says that potassium is needed in the body to control muscle contractions.10 Some signs of a potassium deficiency are muscle spasms, including eyelids spasms and these can be rectified by making sure to have enough potassium in your diet.

Magnesium. Doctors from WebMD say that sufficient amounts of magnesium are needed to regulate muscle and nerve function.11 A magnesium deficiency can lead to involuntary muscle spasms, including eyelid twitching.

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Calcium. Calcium is just as essential for your nervous system as it is for healthy bones. The journal Biology of the Cell reports that calcium helps to keep the central nervous system working properly.12 Therefore, having enough calcium in your diet can help prevent twitching eyelids and other health issues.

Of course, a healthy diet should contain the proper balance of vitamins and minerals. It is rare when just one vitamin supplement will stop your eyelid twitch. You should also make sure that your diet contains these super foods for great eyesight.

Allergic reactions

Allergies can affect your eyes and cause twitching in either eye. Allergies can cause you to have watery eyes that itch and become puffy. Scratching your eye could lead to more irritation and a twitch in the affected eye.

The journal Case Reports in Neurological Medicine reported that, on occasion, allergic conjunctivitis can cause severe eye twitching.13

If allergies affect your eyes, you should try to identify the trigger and avoid the allergen if possible. You could also try one of my essential oils for natural allergy relief to help resolve a twitching eye. Please remember, that some people are allergic to chamomile, therefore, in these cases, a chamomile eye rinse may not be the best solution.

Serious Conditions that Cause Left Eye Twitching

Although most cases of left eye twitching are harmless, a chronic eye twitch doesn’t mean that it can’t be something more serious. There are some reasons for eye twitching that are caused by less common and chronic conditions.

Hemifacial spasm

A chronic eye twitch that isn’t relieved by any of the methods in the article could be due to a hemifacial spasm. As its name suggests, a hemifacial spasm involves sharp muscle contractions on one-half of the face.

Dr. Colin Tidy on Patient.info says that this chronic condition usually starts off as a seemingly harmless eye twitch in the left eye. Usually, the left side of the face is affected more, and in time, the twitches may spread to the jaw, mouth, and lips.14

Blepharospasm

Although many doctors refer to all eye twitching as blepharospasm, Dr. Robert Graham on Medscape says that this is a chronic eye twitching condition. The disease can get progressively worse and affect more nerves and muscles. Therefore, it’s important to manage the eye twitching properly to prevent nerve damage.15

Other medical conditions

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that eye twitching could be one of the many symptoms of the following conditions:

  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Tourette syndrome

It’s important to remember, that when eye twitching is associated with a serious medical condition, there will be more symptoms than just an occasional eye twitch or even frequent eye twitching.

Left Eye Twitching – When to See a Doctor

Usually, home remedies and getting plenty of rest are all that is needed to stop your left eye blinking involuntarily. However, if the constant twitch in either of your eyes won’t go away, you should see your doctor or optometrist for an eye checkup.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic recommend a professional eye checkup if you have the following conditions with your twitching eye:

  • The eye twitch becomes chronic and doesn’t stop
  • Twitching causes your eyelids to close completely, even if just for a moment
  • You notice twitching in your face or other parts of your body
  • You notice anything else unusual with your eye
  • Your upper eyelid droops

Read these related articles:

Article Sources

  1. NIH. Blepharospasm.
  2. AAO. What is an eyelid spasm or twitching eyelid?
  3. WebMD. Why does my eye twitch?
  4. MedlinePlus. Eyelid twitch.
  5. WebMD. 10 Tips to beat insomnia.
  6. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010; 10: 18.
  7. MayoClinic. Eye twitching.
  8. WebMD. Prevent eyestrain from digital devices.
  9. MayoClinic. Dry eyes.
  10. UMM. Potassium.
  11. WebMD. Magnesium.
  12. Biol Cell. 2004 Feb;96(1):79-91.
  13. Case Rep Neurol Med. 2014;2014:928486
  14. info. Hemifacial spasm.
  15. Medscape. Benign essential blepharospasm.
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