published Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Ask a doctor: What should I do if my eyelid periodically twitches?

Dr. Deborah DiStefano

Q: My eyelid twitches sometimes. Is there anything that can be done for this?

A: The cause of minor eyelid twitching is unknown. A slight spasm of the lower eyelid is common and of no concern. Reducing stress, using warm soaks or correcting eyeglasses may help. Sometimes the eye twitching may be a condition known as blepharospasm. Blepha-rospasm can be treated with medica-tions and biofeed-back, though these are rarely successful, as well as injection of botulinum or surgery. Injecting the botulism toxin into the muscles around the eyes relaxes the spasm. Each injection works for several months. Drooping eyelids, double vision or dryness of the eye are possible side effects, but occur rarely and will subside as the injection wears off. Your ophthalmologist may recommend surgery to remove either the nerve causing the spasm or the spastic muscles themselves. The surgical results are generally permanent, and side effects are also usually permanent.

-- Dr. Deborah DiStefano, DiStefano Regional Eye Center; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

Readers: To submit a question for medical doctors, email it to Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress.com. See this space each week for answers.

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