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This Is Why Your Eyelid Is Twitching Uncontrollably

Besides its mission to ruin your life and everything that's good in the world.

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And not only is it annoying, but you're freaking out because you have no idea WTF it means.

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Well, you're not alone. Eyelid twitching is super common and something that most people experience in their lifetime. To find out what it means, why it happens, and how to know when it's serious enough to see a doctor, BuzzFeed Health spoke with Mayo Clinic optometrist Muriel Schornack and Dr. Payal Patel, clinical instructor in the Department of Ophthalmology at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Here's what they had to say:

1. First, determine what's actually twitching: your eyelid or your eyeball.

Most of the time it's the muscle in your eyelid that's contracting and causing that annoying twitch, says Schornack.

But if you're also experiencing things like blurred vision or periodic jumping of your vision "that makes it seem like the world is moving," that might be oscillopsia — a visual disturbance often associated with neurological disorders. If it's your eyeball that's moving, Schnornack recommends seeing your primary care or eye doctor to get that checked out.

2. Don't worry; the occasional eyelid twitch is usually nothing to worry about.

Eyelid twitching (also called myokymia) is the sudden, isolated, involuntary twitching of the eyelid muscle, called the orbicularis oculi, says Patel. It usually only affects one eyelid at a time, and although annoying AF, it's super common and relatively harmless.

In most cases the twitching doesn't last very long and will eventually end on its own. But Patel says it's also completely normal for the myokymia to be consistent over a couple of weeks, and that's typically nothing to worry about.

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3. It usually happens when you're exhausted or really stressed out.

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While there haven't been studies to prove exactly what's causing your eyelid to twitch, Schornack says it's primarily associated with stress and fatigue. It's also pretty common after exercising, long periods of eye strain, consuming a lot of caffeine, and smoking.

4. The best way to treat the twitching is to just try to relax your eyelid muscle.

So basically, shut your eyes when possible. Unfortunately there are no known remedies or medications to get rid of the twitch. But if it's becoming too much of a pain in the ass, Patel says you can try applying an ice pack to the area that's twitching. "Cold constricts the blood vessels and decreases blood flow to the area," says Patel. "This isn't guaranteed to stop the twitching, but sometimes it can help slow it down."

If the twitching is persistent and so bothersome that it's keeping you from performing daily tasks, Patel suggests seeing an eye doctor — who might even prescribe a Botox shot. "The goal is to find a way to relax the muscle that's moving," Patel says. "That's why Botox injections usually help and why it'll usually cease after taking a nap or going to sleep for the night."

5. If the twitching spreads or gets worse, head to a doctor to get it checked out.

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“If your eyelid is twitching and then all of a sudden it goes to your forehead or your ears, then you definitely want to get it checked out by your primary care physician,” says Patel. “They’ll need to check your health history and do an eye exam to diagnose whether it's benign (harmless), or if it’s a neurological component of something more serious.”

Patel explains that eyelid myokymia can, on rare occasions, progress into something called benign essential blepharospasm, where your eyelids start forcibly closing on their own (usually caused by abnormal activity in the blink centers in the brain), or hemifacial spasms, where the twitching moves beyond your eyelid and affects one side of your face (usually caused by some sort of compression or damage of a facial nerve).

Because of this, Schornack and Patel say you should be cautious of:

* Other muscles in the face starting to contract in synchrony

* The intital twitch getting bigger to the point that it's noticeable by other people

* Your entire eyelid opening and closing involuntarily

* Feeling the spasms take over one side of your face