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:
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 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.
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)
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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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.
K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
Eyelid Myokymia. (2021.)
Sleep and Sleep Disorders. (2017.)
Keep an Eye on Your Vision Health. (2020.)
Effects of Aging in Dry Eye. (2018)
Bell Palsy. (2022.)
Dystonia Information Page. (2021.)
Cervical dystonia. (ND.)
Multiple Sclerosis Information Page. (2019.)
Topiramate-Induced Persistent Eyelid Myokymia. (2016.)
Levodopa-induced Dyskinesia: Clinical Features, Pathophysiology, and Medical Management. (2017.)