Eyelid twitching - causes and therapy

Eyelid twitching - causes and therapy

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If the eyelid twitches uncontrollably, it is usually very uncomfortable and annoying for those affected. The rapid vibration can often be attributed to relatively harmless reasons such as stress, working too long on the screen, lack of sleep or conjunctivitis and only persists until these have been remedied or healed. If the eyelid twitching lasts longer or is very pronounced, it can in rare cases also be more serious causes. For example, neurological disorders or the chronic inflammatory disease multiple sclerosis (MS) are possible. In general, a doctor should therefore be consulted as a precautionary measure for eyelid twitching, who will make the appropriate diagnosis and initiate the necessary treatment steps if necessary. This is also important in the case of apparently only slight complaints, because permanent eyelid flutter often affects vision, making it e.g. dangerous situations can quickly arise in traffic.

Definition and symptoms

A regular blinking of the eye is a completely normal, healthy process, which primarily maintains the liquid layer (tear film) formed from tear fluid, which protects the eye from drying out. In addition, the short "jingling" prevents dirt and foreign objects from entering the eyes. However, if the upper and / or lower eyelid twitch more often than normal, this is medically referred to as “fasciculation”. These are uncontrollable movements of small muscle groups, whereby the lid is not closed completely, but begins to tremble instead. Often, the twitching is experienced by those affected as very massive, whereas the environment hardly notices it or not at all.

The eyelid twitching can be different and therefore only occasionally last for a few seconds or minutes, but also persist for hours and even days. In many cases, only one eyelid is affected, and the type and location of the complaints often differ greatly. Accordingly, those affected report, for example, "only a noticeable, frequent twitching in the corner of their eyes", as well as "an irregular trembling of the skin and lower eyelid that can be seen by everyone".

Causes of eyelid twitching

If there are uncontrollable muscle movements in the eye or an uncontrollable contraction of the eyelid, there are usually comparatively harmless causes that can be treated or remedied accordingly. Frequent triggers are fatigue and exhaustion, severe tiredness or lack of sleep or eye strain due to working on the PC monitor for too long. Excitement and psychological stress such as inner restlessness, nervousness and stress can also cause the lid to contract laterally.

In addition, there are infections such as conjunctivitis or inflammation of the eyelid margin (blepharitis), allergies such as Hay fever, small corneal abrasions (e.g. from contact lenses or fingernails) or a foreign body in the eye are considered as triggers. Often, twitching is also promoted by dry eyes, which e.g. can be quickly irritated by substances such as smoke or dust.

The background of eye twitching can also be a so-called “tic disorder”. These are characterized by sudden and rapid movements of individual muscles or muscle groups that occur involuntarily and have no recognizable function. The tics can be of very different forms and accordingly from "simple" actions such as blinking eyes, grimacing or nodding to complex processes such as enough to crouch down or imitate movements. A distinction is also made between a temporary (less than a year) and a chronic disorder that persists for more than twelve months, with the tics being either motor or vocal in both cases. In distinction, the so-called "Tourette syndrome" is a chronic disorder in which several motor tics and at least one uncontrollable vocalization (such as clearing the throat, grunting, repeated syllables) occur in combination.

Exactly what exactly causes a tic disorder has not yet been fully clarified. However, genetic factors are suspected, among other things, since a family cluster can often be observed. In addition, in very rare cases, the tics can also result from certain diseases such as carbon monoxide poisoning, inflammation of the brain or neurological disorders.

Twitching of the eyelid due to magnesium deficiency

Another common reason is a mineral deficiency, which e.g. due to a one-sided diet, diarrhea, taking certain medications (such as laxatives or diuretics), alcoholism or heavy physical exertion. An inadequate supply of magnesium is an option here, which among other things plays a central role in the regulation of excitation conduction in the nerve and muscle cells and is therefore indispensable for the vital function of the latter. If the body lacks the mineral, this leads to overexcitability of the nerves, which in turn can lead to nervousness, confusion, insomnia as well as an increased susceptibility to stress and irritability.

In addition, a magnesium deficiency (hypomagnesaemia) can not only cause twitching of the eyelid, but also a variety of other complaints such as leg cramps, dizziness or headache. If the body receives too little magnesium permanently, high blood pressure and heart disorders such as rapid heartbeat, rhythm disturbances or heart pain are also possible, as well as gastrointestinal complaints such as diarrhea, stomach cramps or nausea and vomiting.

Eye twitching in multiple sclerosis (MS)

In rarer cases, a twitching eye can also occur in connection with multiple sclerosis (MS). This is the most common neurological disease with permanent disability, which affects around 120,000 people in Germany. MS is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS), which is formed from the brain and spinal cord. The inflammation leads to destruction of the medullary sheaths of the nerve fibers, which normally isolate the individual nerves from each other and thus enable electrical impulses to be transmitted. If the medullary sheaths are damaged, this forwarding is disrupted, which means that the transmission of information between nerve and body cells only works to a limited extent.

Due to the interrupted impulse transmission, sensory disturbances such as tingling, walking or numbness often occur, which usually begin in the fingers and / or feet and then pass into the arms and legs. Many sufferers also suffer from visual disturbances, which in most cases result from an inflamed optic nerve ("optic neuritis"). Typically, eye pain first occurs here, in addition to impaired vision (blurring, foggy veil), flickering eyes, flashes of light, loss of visual field or an uncontrollable twitching of the eyelid. Other possible symptoms of the so-called "illness with many faces" are paralysis in the arms and legs, which often changes with heat, exertion or the like. intensify and facial pain (trigeminal neuralgia) or paralysis (facial palsy).

In addition, speech and bladder dysfunction (urinary bladder, urinary retention, etc.), problems with bowel movements (constipation) and sexual intercourse can occur. In addition, mental disorders are not uncommon in more severe cases, which include mood swings and symptoms of depression such as deep depression, insomnia and listlessness. Exactly what causes the inflammation in the brain and spinal cord has not yet been clarified. However, many experts suspect that various factors such as inheritance, chronic infections and malregulation of the immune system can contribute to the development of the disease. Since the MS is a so-called "autoimmune disease", it is not curable, but can be treated well with modern medication and accordingly its course can be positively influenced.

Treatment for fluttering eyes

Depending on the cause, various methods are available for the treatment of eyelid twitching, whereby it must first be clarified by a doctor whether the twitching eyelid is a "harmless" physical reaction or a serious sign of illness. While the healthy twitching of the eyes usually disappears as quickly as it started, in other cases further treatment is carried out according to the underlying disease.

If symptoms can be traced back, for example, to excessive stress, excessive negative stress or fatigue, simple means such as adequate sleep and exercise in the fresh air as well as regular, conscious breaks in everyday life often help to give the eyes a few minutes of rest. In most cases, relief offers targeted relaxation exercises. The so-called progressive muscle relaxation according to Jacobson is often recommended here by psychologists and health experts, which is considered to be comparatively easy to learn due to the active part of the exerciser. The goal is to improve your own body awareness by consciously relaxing and relaxing certain muscle groups and thereby achieve a state of deep relaxation for body and soul in the long term.

In addition to this, there are a number of other exercises and techniques for reducing stress, such as Meditation or autogenic training, special eye yoga exercises can help to relax the eyes. Especially those who work constantly on the screen should best integrate these techniques into everyday life in order to avoid complaints such as headaches or serious consequences such as poor eyesight. With tired, overworked eyes, it is important to look up from the screen about every five to ten minutes and look out of the window into the width of the room or similar. to judge. Another tried and tested exercise for relaxing the eyes is “palming”. In this process, the hands are first warmed by rubbing them together and then arched over the closed eyelids, whereby the eyelids are not touched. Even those who blink very quickly ten times in a row and then keep their eyes closed for a few seconds do something good for themselves. In addition, eye circles (up to 20 times in each direction) and intensive looking up and down are easy to perform and very effective exercises in eye yoga.

If, on the other hand, there is a suspicion of a magnesium deficiency, a doctor should first be consulted in order to, for example, a genetic disturbance in the absorption through the intestinal wall (magnesium absorption) or other pathological causes such as diabetes or chronic kidney and bowel diseases (e.g. celiac disease) to be able to exclude. If this has happened, it will already help many sufferers if the daily amount of magnesium is increased, since the body needs more of the mineral than usual in certain situations such as pregnancy or high stress levels. The same applies e.g. For people who regularly drink alcohol, exercise a lot or take certain medications (laxatives, birth control pills, etc.).

Nutrition plays a key role here, although there are only a few foods that have a high magnesium content. These include whole grain cereals (such as millet, brown rice, oatmeal), nuts, beans and sunflower seeds as well as legumes (especially soybeans) and some green vegetables such as fennel, spinach and broccoli. If this is not sufficient, taking magnesium tablets or nutritional supplements may be appropriate. However, this should always be discussed with the doctor in advance with regard to possible risks and side effects.

If you suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS), it is important that therapy begins as early as possible in order to get the causal inflammatory processes under control as well as possible. Because even if the autoimmune disease is not curable, today's medicines enable good treatability and, in many cases, a relatively high degree of independence and quality of life. The treatment is divided into different blocks, for example by taking short-term measures to alleviate the symptoms in acute episodes, while the permanent basic therapy aims to prevent the spread of the disease. Among other things, high-dose cortisone preparations and medications for influencing (immune modulation) or inhibiting (immune suppression) the immune system are used. As a rule, symptomatic therapy is also used to support this, e.g. Physiotherapy, massages or relaxation measures alleviate unpleasant symptoms and improve the quality of life.

Naturopathy for eye twitching

In the field of naturopathy, among other things, Schüssler salts are used to treat uncontrolled fluttering of the eyelids. If this is due to an eye infection, for example, salt number 11 (Silicea), which is also known in conventional medicine as “silica”, has proven itself. In addition to this, the salt no. 14 (potassium bromatum) offers especially nervous and restless people a good support for stress-related eyelid twitching, because it has a calming effect on the nerves and a general relaxing effect.

Even if the mineral balance is disturbed, a treatment with Schüssler salts can be very helpful.

The salts No. 7 (Magnesium Phosporicum), 11 (Silicea), 16 (Lithium chloratum) and 26 (Selenium) are particularly suitable for these. These can be taken either individually or together, but care should be taken to combine a maximum of three agents. Often, the deficiency symptoms and thus the fluttering of the eyelid in connection with an appropriate diet can be quickly reduced. However, if the symptoms persist or return after some time, an (ophthalmological) doctor should be consulted to clarify the reasons for this.

Herbal medicine offers with the so-called "eyebright" (Euphrasia officinalis) another, often very effective natural remedy for problems with the eyes. If they are tired or overwrought, a tea is often beneficial, for which one tablespoon of dried or two tablespoons of fresh eyebright herb is brewed with half a liter of boiling water. The infusion is then left to steep for about ten minutes and drunk throughout the day to support the positive effects on the eyes from the inside. For external treatment, a cotton pad can be soaked with the cooled tea and carefully dabbed on the eye area. An even more intense effect (e.g. inflammation) has a rinse with the prepared, cold tea, and homeopathic eyebright eye drops from various suppliers are also available in the pharmacy.

Homeopathy for eyelid twitching

In addition to this, homeopathy also offers some means to naturally alleviate the symptoms. For example, Agaricus Muscarius (fly agaric) comes into question, which is used, among other things, for internal restlessness and twitching or involuntary and uncontrollable movements. Accordingly, e.g. be helpful for anxiety, nervousness, insecurity or nerve complaints, as well as for the supplementary treatment of diseases such as epilepsy, dementia, multiple sclerosis, migraines or Parkinson's.

The "nerve agent" potassium phosphoricum has also proven itself in many cases for stress-related, nervous eyelid twitching, which is typically administered in the potency D6 to D12. The main areas of application are, for example, fatigue and exhaustion, headache, burnout, sleep disorders, diarrhea or dizziness. In addition, homeopaths often recommend the remedy Magnesium phosphoricum, which is based on magnesium and phosphorus salt and has both pain-relieving (analgesic) and antispasmodic (spasmolytic) effects on the muscles when muscle twitching. Magnesium phosphoricum globules are therefore mainly used for cramps in all forms (e.g. stomach or calf cramps, period pains), migraines and colic, but also for inner restlessness, tremors or sleep disorders. In addition, some people may e.g. Lycopodium or Belladonna also help, so the "right" remedy as well as the corresponding potency and duration of use should always be matched to the individual case by an experienced homeopath.

Since the fasciculation is often caused or favored by dry eyes, homeopathy can also provide gentle and natural help in many cases. If the drought is very pronounced, e.g. Alumina is used, especially if the symptoms worsen in cold weather or improve in summer temperatures and the patient e.g. suffering from morning depressive moods, dry, itchy skin and frequent colds. If, in addition to the dryness, there is a burning sensation in the eyes, restlessness, anxiety and a strong feeling of thirst, Arsenicum album can be the method of choice. This is particularly indicated when the symptoms intensify at night as well as during cold and exertion and improve when exposed to heat or heat and in the open air. Pulsatilla Pratensis can help with dry and itchy eyes associated with excessive lacrimation and yellow secretions. In addition to dryness, symptoms such as heavy eyelids, dark circles under the eyes, increased appetite for salty and cold dishes or cold sweat, in some cases Veratrum album is also recommended. (No)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Social Science Nina Reese


  • Professional Association of Ophthalmologists in Germany V. (BVA), German Ophthalmological Society (DOG): Guideline No. 12 Bacterial Conjunctivitis, (accessed September 11, 2019), DOG
  • Christian Löser: Malnutrition and malnutrition, Thieme Verlag, 1st edition, 2010
  • German Society for Neurology (DGN): diagnosis and therapy of multiple sclerosis, guidelines for diagnosis and therapy in neurology, AWMF registration number: 030/050, (accessed on September 11, 2019), AWMF
  • Franz Grehn: Ophthalmology, Springer Verlag, 29th edition, 2005

Video: Inferior Oblique Myokymia (January 2023).