‘Twitching’ eye could be ‘early’ sign of Parkinson’s, warns opticians

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Parkinson’s disease occurs when parts of the brain are progressively damaged over several years. The most common symptoms are involuntary shaking, slow movement and stiff muscles. Like many medical conditions it can get worse over time.

According to optician Wut Hmone, from Feel Good Contacts, a “twitching eye” can signal the disease among other issues.

She said: “Although rare, twitching eyelids can be an early sign of certain brain and nervous system disorders.

“These can include Parkinson’s disease, Bell’s palsy, cervical dystonia, dystonia, multiple sclerosis, Tourette syndrome, oromandibular dystonia and facial dystonia.

“However, in some cases, eye twitching can also be an early sign of a chronic movement disorder which is usually accompanied by other facial spasms.

“If eye twitching becomes a concern, it is advised that you contact your GP.”

Other symptoms linked to Parkinson’s disease include:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Balance problems (this may increase the chances of a fall)
  • Loss of sense of smell (anosmia)
  • Problems sleeping (insomnia)
  • Memory problems.

However, a twitching eye might be something less serious.“As a result of changing lifestyle habits, people are suffering even more from eye twitching and spasms,” Ms Hmone said.

“Although they may not be painful, twitching eyelids can be very annoying and uncomfortable to live with.

“Typically, it’s just the upper eyelid that twitches, however in some cases the lower lid or both of them can twitch.”

Lifestyle factors

A number of lifestyle factors contribute to twitching and spasms.

Ms Hmone said: “For many of us, our lifestyles have changed significantly in the past year.

“We are suffering from increased stress, tiredness, eye strain and dry eyes (due to increased screen time).

“These factors plus smoking, caffeine and alcohol intake (all of which have been on the rise) contribute to twitching.

“In addition to this, if you suffer from allergies then you are more likely to experience twitching and spasms.”

How long can an eye twitch last?

An eye twitch can last anywhere between a few days or weeks.

It shouldn’t last more than a few weeks and if it does, you should consult your optician or GP immediately.

When should I be worried about eye twitching?

Eye twitching may also be a concern if you experience any of the following:

  • Your eyelid closing completely every time it twitches – if you’re experiencing eyelid spasms strong enough to close both eyelids, this could be a condition known as blepharospasm
  • Red or swollen eyes
  • You find it hard to open your eye
  • The twitching lasts longer than a few weeks
  • You have twitching on your face and other parts of your body
  • Your eyelids are looking droopy.

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