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Computer Vision Syndrome

Why Is My Eyelid Twitching?

What Is An Eyelid Twitch?

Myokymia, more commonly known as an eyelid twitch, occurs when the eyelid muscles spasm uncontrollably. This sensation is generally felt in either the upper or lower eyelid of one eye.

An eyelid twitch can develop for a number of reasons, and can last anywhere from a few moments to several days, depending on the underlying cause. 

Eyelid twitches are usually nothing to worry about, though persistent eyelid spasms can signal a more serious underlying condition. 

What Causes Eyelid Twitching?

There are a range of factors that could be causing your eyelid to twitch, including:

Stress.

This is the most common cause. Any type of physical or mental stress leads to the release of cortisol, a steroid hormone in the body that acts as a stimulant and puts your body into “flight or fight” mode. It can affect the nervous system in uncharacteristic ways, including making the nerves stimulate your muscles to twitch.

Fatigue.

Have you stayed awake later than usual, or are you juggling work and family commitments? Your eyelid twitch may be a sign that your body is craving a few more hours of rest and shut eye.  

Allergies.

Itchy, watery, irritated eyes can cause eyelid spasms.   

Dry eyes.

Dry, sore eyes may sometimes lead to an eyelid twitch.

Eye strain.

Eye muscle fatigue from prolonged reading or using a digital device can lead to blurry or double vision, dry eyes, headaches and, sometimes, an eyelid twitch.

Caffeine.

Consuming too much caffeine can over-stimulate your mind and body, including the muscles in your eyes.

Alcohol.

Similar to caffeine, excessive alcohol intake can have stimulating effects on your eye muscles.

Nutrient deficiencies.

According to research, a deficiency in vitamins B12 or D, or magnesium, or other electrolyte imbalance can cause an eyelid twitch. 

Blepharospasm.

This rare eye condition is caused by a neurological problem that leads to uncontrollable facial and eyelid spasms that generally worsen over time.These spasms may also cause an increase in blink rate and intensity. 

Neurological disease.

Although uncommon, an eyelid twitch can be a symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease or Bell’s palsy. 

How to Stop Your Eye Twitch

  • Schedule an eye exam to find out what may be causing your eyelid twitch. Your eye doctor may prescribe glasses to relieve eye strain, or recommend dry eye treatments, Botox injections or oral medication to treat the underlying problem. 
  • Practice stress-relieving activities such as yoga and deep breathing exercises, or simply take some time out of your day to relax.
  • Use eye drops to alleviate eye allergies or dry eye symptoms.
  • Take frequent breaks from the screen and consider wearing computer glasses to reduce eye strain. 
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption to determine if these stimulants may be the cause of your eyelid twitch.
  • Speak with your physician to find out if you can benefit from taking nutritional supplements and to rule out a neurological disorder, especially if other symptoms are present.

 Although an eye twitch is generally not a cause for concern, if it persists for longer than a few days or you notice any changes to your vision, contact Dr. Moshe Roth and Dr. Steffani Tiomno at Family Eye Care today to schedule an eye exam. 

Q & A

What is dry eye syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic condition that occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough tears or the quality of your tear film is compromised. This results in a range of symptoms that may include dry, itchy, irritated eyes, and sometimes eye twitches. While mild DES can often be alleviated temporarily with over-the-counter lubricating eye drops, moderate to severe DES generally requires specialized in-office treatments.

How can I relieve eye strain after prolonged screen time?

Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, can cause a host of uncomfortable symptoms, including headaches, eye fatigue, dry eyes and blurry vision. Computer vision syndrome may cause your eyelid to twitch. 

If limiting screen time isn’t practical on a daily basis, try to follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something around 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. It is also important to remember to blink frequently and to close your eyes completely. Lastly, speak to your optometrist about wearing computer glasses while you work, as they are designed to eliminate glare from the screen, and reduce eye strain.

What Is the Long-Term Impact of Virtual Learning on Children’s Eyes?

Kids, like adults, now spend more and more time online. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, children attended school via Zoom and completed assignments online. The trend toward more and more screen time — whether playing games or being in touch with friends — will likely  continue even after children return to the physical classroom. 
We already know that prolonged screen time can cause digital eye strain as well as dry eye symptoms, among other problems in children and adults. 

Dry Eyes

When we spend time on computer and other screens, it impacts how quickly our tears evaporate.  The reason for that is that we blink much less often when we are on a computer as compared to other daily activities. When tears evaporate too quickly and aren’t replenished with blinking, our eyes start to feel dry and gritty.
Think about your windshield wipers.  You set the wiper speed to the amount of rain.  If it is set too slow, then it is hard to see through the rain.  The point is that you need to have the right blink rate.  If the blink rate is too slow, then it is like wipers that are too slow.  
The second factor is the amount of tears.  That’s like the amount of windshield wiper fluid.  If there is not enough fluid, then the windshield isn’t going to get clean.  

Blue Light Exposure

Computer screens, phones and tablets emit blue light. Recent studies have shown that overexposure to blue light can damage the retinal cells at the back of your eyes. This may increase the risk of vision issues such as age-related macular degeneration which eventually leads to permanent loss of vision. 

Digital Eye Strain

Over half of the people who use computers or other digital devices feel eye strain.  That is called Computer Vision Syndrome. The symptoms of eye strain include: eye fatigue and discomfort, dry eye, headaches, blurred vision, neck and shoulder pain, eye twitching, and red eyes. 
Taking frequent breaks from your screen can help reduce eye strain and neck, back and shoulder pain during your workday. 

What is the 20-20-20 rule?

It’s a good idea to put the 20-20-20 rule into practice.  For every 20 minutes you are on computer or other digital device, take a 20 second break and look at something that is 20 feet away from you.   
Take at least a 10-minute break every hour; stand up, move around, stretch your arms, legs, back, neck and shoulders to relieve tension and muscle aches. 

How to Make Virtual Learning Safer For Your Child

To reduce the impact of screens on your child’s eyes and visual system:
  • Reduce overall screen time 
  • Encourage frequent breaks
  • Use accessories that filter blue light (for example, blue light glasses)
  • Schedule regular eye exams

Make Sure Your Child had a yearly eye examination. 

Children learn the most through the visual system.  That’s why it is critically important to bring your child in for a comprehensive eye examination each year.  It is unusual for a child to have an eye health problem, but eyeglass and eye coordination issues can certainly and directly affect learning and behavior.  
If you are concerned about the effect of virtual learning and screen time on your child’s eyes, schedule an eye doctor‘s appointment at Family Eye Care in Old Bridge. 

Q&A

What are blue light glasses?

Blue light glasses, also known as computer glasses, effectively block the transmission of blue light emitted from devices and computer screens. They are made with a special glare reducing surface to further reduce eye strain.

Tips to Relax Your Eyes

Do your eyes hurt after spending a significant amount of time reading, playing video games, driving, or staring at a screen? These visually intense activities can cause eye strain, headaches and blurry vision. Other symptoms of eye strain can include sensitivity to light, neck and shoulder pain, difficulty concentrating, and burning or itchy eyes.

Theses symptoms are part of Computer Vision Syndrome. Below are some suggestion of techniques that may give you relief. If your symptoms continue, consider coming in for an examination. You may benefit from special eyeglasses for computer use.

Relax Your Eyes with These Supportive Techniques

Many of these exercises are designed for computer users. Eye strain resulting from long drives, reading, or other activities, can be alleviated by modifying some of these recommendations.

The 20-20-20 Rule

After about 20 minutes of screen time or doing close-up work, focus on an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This gives the eyes a much needed rest and helps them relax. There are also free apps available that provide pop-up reminders that notify you when it’s time to shift your gaze.

Screen Ergonomics

Your computer monitors should be 20 to 28 inches away from you, and the top of the computer should be at eye level or right below for optimum eye comfort. Glare filters can reduce the amount of glare produced by digital devices and improve your viewing experience.

Poor sitting posture can also contribute to eye strain. Your chair should be situated so that your feet are flat on the floor, or use an angled footrest for additional comfort.

If there is a window or light behind you, it may cause reflection or glare. Try to reposition your monitor to reduce or eliminate that.

Computer Eye Wear

Regular prescription lenses or glasses may not meet the visual needs for working on the computer for long periods. There are special lenses that are designed for computer use. These prescription glasses are customized to your needs and also reduce glare and block blue light.

Many people say: “but I just want one pair of eyeglasses”.

Think of the utensil you use most of the time when you eat. It’s probably a fork. When you eat soup or cereal, however, you probably use a spoon. Each one has its own function.

A hammer is a good tool, but sometimes you need a screwdriver. Its a different tool.

The computer program Word is good to write a report, or a message, but probably not ideal for a spreadsheet. The program Excel does that much better.

You probably wear different clothes in the winter than in the summer. One set of clothes probably doesn’t work all year round. You might wear different shoes for different functions or purposes.

The point is that just as there are different utensils we eat with, and different shoes we wear, and different tools we use, eyeglass lenses are designed for different functions, much as clear lenses are different from sunglasses.

You don’t have to live with the discomforts of eye strain. If symptoms persist, it may be a good idea to schedule a time to visit us at Family Eye Care in Old Bridge. so you can get the relief you want. Call our office at 732-679-2020 to schedule an appointment.

8 Ways to Protect Your Eyes at the Office

We all spend a considerable amount of time on computer monitors, smartphones, or another digital devices. This produces visual stress and can cause a new type of problems termed “Computer Vision Syndrome” (CVS).  Symptoms include eye fatigue, dry eye, blurred vision, headache, neck and shoulder pain, red eye, and eye twitching.

How To Protect Your Eyes While You Work

What can you do to reduce your risk and limit discomfort?   

1.  A comprehensive eye exam specific to address your symptoms 

This is the first (and most important) step to treat symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome. Please make a point of letting Dr. Roth know your working habits and conditions, including the frequency and length of time you use a computer and other devices at work and at home.

Measure the distance between your eyes and your computer screen and bring that information with you when you come in for your visit.  Prescriptions are specific to the your working distance.

Computer Vision Syndrome may be exacerbated by an underlying dry eye disease, which can be diagnosed and treated at our office in Old Bridge, NJ.  It is also influenced if you work in an air conditioned and heated office versus working outdoors because that influences how humid the air is.   

Often, people who may have good distant sight, assume they don’t need any glasses, however, even very mild prescriptions can improve eyestrain and curb fatigue when working at a computer. 

2. Good lighting 

Excessively bright light shining in though a window or harsh interior lighting can cause of eyestrain.  Reduce exterior light by closing drapes, blinds or shades.  Diminish interior illumination by using fewer or lower intensity bulbs.  You may find that turning off overhead fluorescent lights and replacing them with floor lamps is easier on your eyes. 

3. Minimize glare

Eyestrain can be aggravated by glare from light reflecting off surfaces including your computer screen. Position your computer so that windows are neither directly in front of nor behind the monitor, but rather to the side of it. Consider installing an anti-glare screen on your display. If you wear glasses, Anti-Reflective (AR) lenses reduce glare by limiting the amount of light that reflects off the front and back surfaces of your lenses (more on that below.)

4. Upgrade your display 

New flat panel desktop display should have a diagonal screen size of at least 19 inches.  Higher resolution is usually better.

5. Adjust display settings for added comfort 

Adjusting your computer display settings can help decrease eye strain and fatigue too.

  • Brightness: Adjust your device’s brightness to match the luminance around you. If the white background of this page looks like a light source, then you should make it more dim. If, however, it looks dull and gray, it may not provide enough contrast, which can make it hard to read.
  • Text size: Adjust the text size for maximum eye comfort, particularly when reading, editing or writing long documents. Increase the size if you find yourself squinting, but bigger isn’t always better, since overly large text display may force your eyes to track back and forth too quickly for comfort.  Better yet, make sure you are wearing eyeglasses that are prescribed specifically for computer use.   
  • Color temperature: This refers to the spectrum of visible light emitted by a color display. Blue light is short-wavelength visible light, whereas orange and red are longer wavelength hues. Exposure to blue light helps keep you alert but tends to cause eye fatigue after a while; yellow to red tints are more relaxing and may be better for long-term viewing, especially at night. Many devices allow the user to adjust the color temperature.

6. Get computer glasses

Nearly 70% of North Americans experience digital eye strain related to prolonged use of electronic devices. Our doctors at Family Eye Care in Old Bridge, NJ recommend special glare reducing lenses that reduce glare and filter the blue light emanating from digital screens and artificial light.

For the greatest eye comfort, ask Dr. Roth about customized computer glasses.  These are always a prescribed lens made to improve your visual comfort.  These are for prescribed even if someone is able to see clearly at distance and for people who wear Contact Lenses.  Many people who wear contact lenses find that their eyes feel dry after wearing them for several hours of working on screen. 

We at Family Eye Care in Old Bridge can help you choose from a vast array of effective optical lenses to relieve the effects of digital eye strain. 

7. Don’t forget to blink 

When staring at a digital device people tend to blink up less often.  Often we only make a partial blink when working on computer, and they aren’t as effective at keeping the eyes moist and fresh feeling. Making a conscious effort to blink more while working or watching can prevent dryness and irritation.

8. Exercise your eyes

Another cause of computer eye strain is focusing fatigue. Look away from your computer every 20 minutes and gaze at an object located 20 feet away, for a minimum of 20 seconds. This “20-20-20 rule” is a classic exercise to relax the eyes’ focusing muscles and reduce computer vision syndrome.

The steps above don’t require a tremendous amount of time or money to be effective. Contact Dr. Roth at Family Eye Care in Old Bridge and set up appointment.  We can also prescribe the right type of eye drop medication, eye exercises, computer glasses, or AR lenses so they can help you improve your eye comfort, reduce computer vision syndrome and potentially lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.