An eye tic is an uncontrollable twitching of the eyelid. Its formal name is blepharospasm or fasciculation. Eye tics can affect the upper or lower eyelid of either eye. The tic can last a few minutes up to several months, in severe cases. Children have eye tics more often than adults and boys more often than girls. While eye tics are annoying, they usually have no serious or lasting consequences.
Apply warm or cold compresses. This soothes the muscles around the eye. Warmth increases blood flow to the area, and cold reduces it. These sensations may interrupt the cycle of spasms.
Avoid bright light. It can irritate the eye, triggering spasms. Wearing dark or tinted glasses protects the eyes. Wearing hats with deep brims or sitting facing away from windows or other light sources may help.
Use distraction techniques. These can be as simple as touching the temple or forehead, humming, singing or talking. Concentrating on something that is absorbing, such as music or a non-stressful hobby or task, also works.
Rest the eyes. People who work on computers or tasks that are demanding on the eyes are prone to eye tics. Take a break often to look away from your work. Close the eyes a few moments or shift the gaze from near to far or far to near. Getting enough sleep is important to rest the eyes and relax the muscles that surround them.
Use eye drops to moisten tired eyes. Any activity that requires a lot of visual focus can make the eyes dry. Such tasks tend to make people stare without blinking for long periods of time. Dry, irritated eyes can trigger tics.
Reduce stress. Stress (along with fatigue and too much caffeine) is a leading cause of eye spasms. Stress causes the muscles to tense and sometimes go into spasms.
Reduce caffeine consumption. Caffeine jitters can set off eye spasms. Caffeine can be found in coffee, tea, colas, chocolate, cocoa and headache and cold remedies. It is easy to get too much without realising it.
Keep a log of when eye tics begin and end and what the conditions were at the time. This can help pinpoint what triggers eye spasms.
While most eye tics are simply annoying, some can be signs of a serious condition. Anyone who has a tic that spreads to other areas of the face or that doesn't go away in one to three weeks should see a doctor. Other signs that should be checked by a doctor include a tic that appears along with extreme sensitivity to light or redness, swelling or discharge from the eye.