Eye twitching, benign essential blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm are terms often used to refer to any of three separate conditions. Each type of twitch or spasm has a different cause.

Eyelid twitching (myokymia) affects only the eyelid. This type of twitch or spasm is very common and happens to most people at one time or another. It can involve either the upper or lower lid, but usually 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.

From Mayo Clinic to your inbox

Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.

To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

Jan. 16, 2021