Myvision.org Home

Eyebrow Twitching: Causes and Treatments

Eyebrow twitching is a series of involuntary muscle movements triggered by a reaction to stress, eyestrain, Bell’s palsy, fatigue or too much caffeine. 

If you experience twitching off and on, you can make lifestyle changes that can end the spasms.

If twitching persists, you should consider visiting a doctor to look at underlying causes.

woman with eyebrow twitch

What Is Eyebrow Twitching?

Eyebrow twitching is usually the result of muscle spasms. These are involuntary muscle movements that can affect any part of the body. 

Spasms typically last a few minutes. But there are cases where an eyebrow twitch grows constant or chronic. In such a case, you need to investigate the root cause and seek professional medical intervention.

Eyebrow twitching is commonly confused with hemifacial spasms, a chronic condition caused by irritated or damaged facial nerves. Hemifacial spasms usually affect one side of your face, and the effects extend beyond the eyebrow.

In most common cases, eye twitching is not considered a sign of anything serious.

What Causes Eyebrow Twitching?

Many things can lead to eyebrow twitching. If the brow has been twitching for long, you should see a doctor who’ll help you get to the bottom of it. But if the condition comes and goes, you can try to alter these causative factors and investigate if there’s any notable change.

The most common causes of twitching are:

  • Alcohol, tobacco, and drugs
  • Bell’s palsy                 
  • Caffeine
  • Eyestrain
  • Allergies
  • Stress and fatigue

Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs

Legal or not, many drugs can result in eyebrows twitching. Most drugs affect the nervous system and may result in a twitch. Countless studies have proven that cutting down on tobacco, alcohol and most recreational drugs is good for your health.

Bell’s Palsy 

This condition causes temporary paralysis or muscle weakness on one side of your face. This typically occurs when facial nerves are compressed or swollen. While the actual cause of Bell’s palsy remains unknown, viruses like herpes simplex may have a role to play.

Bell’s palsy usually goes away on its own. However, various medications and eye drops may be used to manage the condition.

Caffeine

Caffeine has made its way into products you consume daily. While there are numerous caffeine benefits to your body, taking too much can have negative effects, including causing eyebrow twitches.

Keep a general record of how much caffeine you consume and the frequency of the twitches. Then, gradually reduce the caffeine intake to see if there’s any change. It is important to note that caffeine can be found in coffee, soda, tea, and energy drinks.

Eyestrain

Continually squinting or straining your eyes can lead to eyebrow twitching. If you squint a lot when outside, you should consider wearing glasses. Additionally, if you’re constantly on the computer or other digital screens, you should strive to follow the 20-20-20 rule.

Allergies

People with allergies are more susceptible to developing an eyebrow twitch. Research shows that histamine –a compound released when you rub your irritated eyes, may cause brow twitching. Treatments and medications that relieve allergy symptoms could help control the twitch.

Stress and fatigue

Stress has been linked to numerous physical reactions, including eyebrow twitching. Managing your stress could gradually get rid of the twitch. Fatigue may also cause a twitch, as your eyes are likely to twitch when you have no energy. Getting enough sleep and resting when exhausted can alleviate the twitch.

Other causes that may result in eyebrow twitching include:

  • Dystonia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Medications like antiepileptic and antipsychotics
  • Nutritional issues, especially a lack of potassium and magnesium

Who Is Likely to Develop Eye Twitching?

Anyone can develop eye twitching. But research also suggests that some people stand a greater chance of developing eye twitching compared to others. Some of the factors that increase your likelihood of developing the condition are:

  • Genetics – While geneticists are yet to identify the specific hormones responsible for passing eye twitching, parents that have the condition are more likely to have offspring with the same condition.
  • Sex – Females are twice as likely to develop conditions like meige syndrome and essential blepharospasm. Currently, there is no known underlying reason that can explain this.

Treating Eyebrow Twitching

As discussed above, most cases of eyebrow twitching are harmless and will go away on their own. However, it’s still advised to seek professional intervention to rule out any underlying causes of the twitch.

Treating eyebrow twitching usually involves reducing the trigger factors. Among recommendations your doctor may make:

  • Sleeping and resting enough
  • Reducing your caffeine intake
  • Applying a warm compress to the eye
  • Increasing potassium and magnesium intake in your diet
  • Taking allergy medications if the cause is an allergic reaction
  • Using eye drops, most of which can be purchased over the counter

When Should You See a Doctor?

You should consult your doctor about a twitching eyebrow if:

  • The twitch persists past a week or two
  • Eyelids and other facial muscles begin to droop
  • Other parts of your face or body also start twitching
  • The eyes become swollen, red, or start emitting discharge
  • The eyebrow twitch causes the eyelids to completely shut

Eyebrow twitching usually resolves itself without the need for medical treatments. In most cases, lifestyle changes can get rid of the twitch. These changes may include getting more sleep, managing your stress levels, and eating a healthy and balanced diet.

References

  1. Twitching eyes and muscles. (February 2021). National Health Service.

  2. Hemifacial Spasm Information Page. (June 2020) National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

  3. Tobacco: Health Benefits of Smoking Cessation. (February 2020). World Health Organization.

  4. 20/20/20 Rule to Prevent Digital Eye Strain. (August 2019). American Optometric Association.

  5. Eye Twitching. (May 2019). Johns Hopkins Medicine.

  6. Epidemiology of Benign Essential Blepharospasm: A Nationwide Population-based Retrospective Study in Taiwan. (December 2018). National Center for Biotechnology Information.

  7. Reasons Why (the Right Amount of) Coffee is Good for You. (April 2017). Johns Hopkins Medicine.

  8. Twelve Cases of Drug-induced Blepharospasm Improved Within 2 Months of Psychotropic Cessation. (June 2011). National Center for Biotechnology Information.

  9. The Trigeminal (V) and Facial (VII) Cranial Nerves. (January 2010).  National Center for Biotechnology Information.

  10. Sleep Disorders and the Eye. (November 2008). National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Last Updated May 16, 2022

Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.