Eye twitching, eyelid spasm and blepharospasm are terms used to refer to any of three separate conditions. They each have different causes, and one doesn't lead to the other.
Eyelid twitching (myokymia) affects only the eyelid. It can involve either the upper or lower lid, but only one eye at a time. The eye twitching can range from barely noticeable to bothersome. The twitching usually goes away within a short time but may recur over a few hours, days or longer.
Benign essential blepharospasm starts out as increased blinking of both eyes and may progress to the eyelids being squeezed shut. This type of eye twitching is relatively uncommon but can be extremely severe, affecting all aspects of life.
Hemifacial spasm involves twitches of muscles on one side of the face, including the eyelid.
Jan. 21, 2016
- AskMayoExpert. Periocular spasm. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
- Yanoff M, et al., eds. Essential blepharospasm. In: Ophthalmology. 4th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 24, 2015.
- Hay WW, et al. Eye. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics. 22nd ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2014. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed Nov. 24, 2015.
- Coscarelli JM. Essential blepharospasm. Seminars in Ophthalmology. 2010;25:104.
- Review and update of involuntary facial movement disorders presenting in an ophthalmological setting. Survey of Ophthalmology. 2011;56:54.
- Comella C. Classification and evaluation of dystonia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 24, 2015.
- Defazio G, et al. Development and validation of a clinical guideline for diagnosing blepharospasm. Neurology. 2013;81:236.
- Gerstenblith AT, et al., eds. Eyelid. In: The Wills Eye Manual: Office and Emergency Room Diagnosis and Treatment of Eye Disease. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2012. http://ovidsp.ovid.com/site/index.jsp. Accessed Nov. 24, 2015.
- Goldman L, et al., eds. Multiple sclerosis and demyelinating conditions of the central nervous system. In: Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 24, 2015.
- Eyelid spasm and twitching causes. American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/eyelid-spasm-twitch-cause.cfm. Accessed Nov. 24, 2015.
- Wilkinson JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 1, 2015.