Why Is My Eyebrow Twitching?

By Robynn Lowe
Medically reviewed checkmarkMedically reviewed
May 4, 2022

An eyebrow twitch also called a myokymia, is when your eyebrow muscle contracts involuntarily. Most often, eyebrow twitching is due to fatigue or stress.

While generally harmless, eye twitching can be bothersome and disruptive.

If your eyebrow twitches throughout the day or lasts for days, weeks, or even longer periods of time, chances are you have developed a chronic eye twitch.

In this article, we will discuss the potential causes of an eyebrow twitch and what treatment can be effective for relieving the symptoms.

Causes of Eyebrow Twitching

There are a number of potential causes of eyebrow twitching, including:

Caffeine 

Excessive caffeine intake is a common factor in myokymia.

Evaluating your caffeine intake and making necessary adjustments can help to reduce or eliminate eyebrow twitching.

Often increased caffeine intake goes hand-in-hand with fatigue and stress, the two other common factors involved in sudden eyebrow twitches. 

Myokymia will usually stop on its own after a few days to weeks, but you can help speed up the process by reducing or stopping caffeine intake, as well as by getting more sleep and trying to reduce your stress.

Use caution when reducing daily caffeine intake and reduce slowly to avoid symptoms from caffeine withdrawal if your body is used to large amounts daily. 

Magnesium deficiency

Magnesium helps stabilize nerve and muscle cell envelopes.

When they are functioning normally, the cell membranes only transmit impulses to other cells when they reach a certain strength.

Only about 25% of U.S. adults are at or above the recommended daily amount of 310 to 320 milligrams for women and 400 to 420 milligrams for men.

If the magnesium levels in the cell envelopes are too low, they allow weak impulses to be transmitted. Cells and their connectors (synapses) are excited more quickly and more easily.

This can cause uncontrolled twitching of the eyebrow muscle.

Since the skin around the eyes is very thin you can feel the twitches or flutters on your eyebrow and eyelids more than other muscles.

Medications

In some cases, medications taken for other conditions might trigger eye twitches.

Even though this can be annoying, you’ll want to talk to your healthcare provider before making any changes to your medication.

Some medications that have been linked to eye twitching are:

  • Topiramate (Topamax
  • Medications taken for Parkinson’s disease, such as carbidopa/levodopa (Rytary or Sinemet)
  • Medications that can cause dry eyes, such as some antihistamines (diphenhydramine or chlorpheniramine), certain antidepressants (amitriptyline), diuretics (hydrochlorothiazide or furosemide), and oxybutynin (Ditropan) 
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Eyestrain

Squinting or straining your eyes regularly can also cause your eyebrows to twitch.

If you spend extended periods of time in front of a computer screen consider taking regular breaks to avoid eye strain.

Following the 20/20/20 rule can temporarily help with the strain your computer work may be causing you.

You can also try wearing sunglasses if you squint a lot outside. 

Allergies

Allergies can be the cause of itching, swelling, and watery eyes.

When eyes are rubbed, this releases histamine into the lid tissues and the tears, which may cause eyebrow twitching.

Fatigue

The muscles that keep your eyelids open may be weakened by exhaustion and fatigue, which could be leading to eyebrow twitching.

If you have not been getting the necessary amount of sleep each night (6-7 hours at least) you should try to make it a priority and see if the twitching stops.

Even if it isn’t the solution to the twitching, sleep is extremely important for you to function normally.

Stress

Stress is another common reason why a person’s eyelid or eyebrow might twitch.

It can affect the body in many ways, so paying attention to stress levels and trying to reduce stress can bring many health benefits.

Relaxation techniques and exercise are known to help alleviate stress and could help to reduce instances of the eyelids or eyebrows twitching.

Drugs or alcohol

Alcohol can cause eye twitching because it usually relaxes all the muscles in the body once consumed. Cigarette smoking on the other hand relaxes your skeletal muscles while stimulating the heart.

In both cases, the muscles in the eyelids end up being exhausted, which can be one of the possible causes.

If you think your twitching eye might be caused by cigarette smoking or alcohol consumption, consider reducing your consumption.

Dry Eyes

Many adults experience dry eyes, which can cause eyebrow twitching.

Dry eyes also are common among people over 50 years of age and those who use computers frequently, take certain medications (antihistamines or antidepressants, for example), wear contact lenses, and consume caffeine and/or alcohol.

Disorders

When eyebrow twitches are a result of more serious conditions, they’re almost always accompanied by other symptoms.

Brain and nerve disorders that may cause eyebrow twitches include:

  • Bell’s palsy (facial palsy) is a condition that causes one side of your face to droop downward
  • Dystonia causes unexpected muscle spasms and your affected area’s body part to twist or contort
  • Cervical Dystonia (spasmodic torticollis) causes your neck to randomly spasm and your head to twist into uncomfortable positions; while the causes of cervical dystonia are unknown, in some cases there is a family history
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system that causes cognitive and movement problems, fatigue, and eye twitching
  • Parkinson’s disease can cause trembling limbs, muscle stiffness, balance problems, and difficulty speaking

Treatment

Most eyebrow spasms go away without treatment in a few days or weeks.

If they don’t go away, you can try to eliminate or decrease potential causes.

To ease eye twitching, some home remedies you can try include:

  • Drinking less caffeine
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Keeping your eye surfaces lubricated with over-the-counter artificial tears or eye drops
  • Applying a warm compress to your eyes when a spasm begins

If your healthcare provider determines that intervention is needed, they may recommend antibiotics, surgery, or a variety of other treatment options depending on the exact cause.

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When to Seek Medical Attention

Eyebrow twitches are rarely serious enough to require emergency medical treatment.

However, chronic eyelid spasms may be a symptom of a more serious brain or nervous system disorder.

You may need to contact your doctor if you’re having chronic eyebrow spasms along with any of the following symptoms:

  • Your eye is red, swollen, or has an unusual discharge
  • Your upper eyelid is drooping
  • Your eyelid completely closes each time your eyelids twitch
  • The twitching continues for several weeks
  • The twitching affects other parts of your face

If you think you have an eye injury, contact your optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately. 

How K Health Can Help

Did you know you can get affordable primary care with the K Health app? Download K to check your symptoms, explore conditions and treatments, and if needed text with a doctor in minutes. K Health’s AI-powered app is HIPAA compliant and based on 20 years of clinical data.

K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Robynn Lowe

Robynn Lowe is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner with over 15 years in the medical field. Robynn received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Florida Atlantic University and has been practicing in rural family medicine since. Robynn is married to her college sweetheart, Raymond and they have three awesome children. When Robynn isn't with patients you can find her shopping, coaching her kids sports teams, or spending time on the water.

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