Normally, the eye twitching disappears within a few hours to a maximum of days. If it lasts longer, a visit to a family doctor or neurologist is recommended. In case of eye injuries, or any visual impairment of the field of vision, the ophthalmologist should be consulted immediately.
Diseases of the eye are to be taken very seriously, especially if they deteriorate rapidly and acutely, and often have a bad prognosis. The decisive factor here is to act quickly in order to keep the consequential damage to a minimum. Epidemiologically, the number of burnout patients in industrialized countries has been increasing for years. The prevalence of symptoms such as eye twitches or stress reactions will therefore continue to rise in the coming years.
Characteristically, the eye twitching affects only one eye, twitches in both eyes at the same time are atypical. The eye twitches several times in quick succession before the flutter disappears again. After some time it may reappear.
Eye twitching can occur alone or – depending on the cause – be accompanied by other symptoms. Usually, there are psychological causes behind a twitching eye, such as tension, nervousness or stress. However, overexertion of the optic nerve or lack of sleep also cause eye twitches.
Accordingly, the accompanying symptoms include inner restlessness, tiredness or headaches. Also complaints of the heart and circulation, i.e. excessive blood pressure, palpitations, dizziness or shortness of breath can accompany an eye twitch. If an overactive thyroid gland is behind the involuntary muscle twitching, those affected usually also suffer from extreme nervousness, mood swings, irritability and exhaustion. Patients also sweat more and have hot flushes.
In order to understand exactly what “eye twitching” actually is, one should first clarify the anatomical conditions: The eyeball lies in the bony orbit. It is surrounded by fatty tissue for cushioning and is thus softly embedded. Towards the back, the orbit is tapered (like a cylinder) so that only a small opening remains at the end for the exit of the optic nerve.
Towards the front, the eye is protected by the eyelids. Towards the front, the eyelids form a protective and closing mechanism. A cartilage plate has grown into the eyelid, the so-called eyelid cartilage.
It prevents injury to the underlying eyeball during blows or blunt force by absorbing and distributing the force. The eyelids are actively opened via the upper and lower eyelid lifting muscle. The eye is closed by the orbicularis oculi muscle, also known as the eye ring muscle.
It lies in a ring around the eye and narrows the eye opening when contracted. You can observe this very well in the mirror: If you close one eye, you will notice that the upper and lower eyelid do not move perpendicularly towards each other, but rather move towards each other in a slightly circular motion. The interaction of the above-mentioned muscles causes the eye to twitch when malfunctioning.