How a twitching eye could be a sign of something serious – and when to see your GP

EVER felt your eye twitch uncontrollably?

This general feeling, usually felt in the upper eyelid, is usually nothing to worry about.

Eye tremors could actually be an early warning sign of Parkinson's disease


Eye tremors could actually be an early warning sign of Parkinson’s diseasePhoto credit: Getty

A slight twitch is usually associated with everyday fatigue, stress or too much caffeine.

But in some cases, it can be a sign of something more serious.

1. Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years.

Uncontrollable shaking is a telltale sign of the neurological condition, according to the NHS.

Eye tremors could actually be an early warning sign of the disease, according to a 2012 study.

2. Brain tumor

Brain cancer can have different noticeable side effects depending on where in the brain the tumor is located.

Eye twitching is another clear indicator that a brain tumor may be present, according to the Moffitt Cancer Center.

This symptom is more likely to occur if the tumor develops in the temporal lobe, occipital lobe, or brainstem—all of which can affect vision.

3. Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a lifelong disease that affects the brain and nerves.

In some rare cases, people with this condition experience eye twitching, according to the MS Society.

When eye twitches are caused by MS, they usually occur with other more common signs of the disease, such as tiredness, numbness, muscle weakness, and slurred speech.

4. Bell’s palsy

Bell’s palsy is a condition that causes sudden muscle weakness on one side of the face.

In most cases, the weakness and facial paralysis is temporary and improves significantly over weeks.

During the condition, people may notice a slight eye twitch accompanied by a headache, the NHS says.

5. Dystonia

Dystonia is the umbrella term for conditions that cause uncontrolled and sometimes painful muscle movements.

Dystonia can affect different parts of the body, and in some it affects the eyes – this is called blepharospasm.

It’s usually a lifelong problem, but treatment can help relieve symptoms, according to the NHS.

When to the doctor?

Most minor twitches go away on their own within a few weeks, according to the NHS.

Getting plenty of rest and limiting alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine can help.

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If problems persist for more than a few weeks, it might be worth seeing your GP.

Your doctor will inject small amounts of Botox into your eye muscles to relieve spasms, the Mayo Clinic explains on its website. How a twitching eye could be a sign of something serious – and when to see your GP

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