Twitchy eyes

Do you have twitchy eyes? It could be stress

Whether it’s Homer Simpson filled with rage at his son, or Wile E Coyote annoyed after failing to catch the roadrunner again, a twitchy eye is classic cartoon shorthand for stress.

But there’s truth behind it. “Stress can affect the eyes and vision in a number of ways, but the most common effect I have seen in practice is twitching of the eyelid,” explains Roshni Patel, an optometrist with Lens Store.

“Stress can lead to fatigue and the latter is a big cause for twitching eyelids. It is good to keep a diary of when it occurs as other triggers such as caffeine or tobacco intake can also be contributing factors,” he adds.

Stress can also cause eye strain and fatigue, as well as dry eyes, and when coupled with staring at a screen for a long time, this effect can become pronounced, leading to blurry vision.

In the vast majority of cases, these conditions can be fixed simply by trying to relax and getting some rest. But severe stress can also contribute to a more serious condition called central serous choroidopathy, where fluid builds up in the retina and disrupts vision. If this is left untreated for too long, the effects can become chronic.

Too much stress over too long a period can also lead to functional or hysterical vision loss or hysterical amblyopia. In these cases, vision blurring may occur, but you are still able to move and align your eyes without difficulty. Generally, this can also be fixed with rest and relieving the underlying cause of stress, but in some cases, patients need glasses or contact lenses to correct it.

It’s clear that stress is just as bad for your eyes as the rest of your body, so if you catch your eye twitching, take a moment to step back, rest, and recuperate – and always see an optometrist if you have any problems with your vision.                                        Feb 27, 2021 – Jack Rear, Health Writer