All of us have experienced a condition in which our eyes or eyelids experience involuntary contractions or as we may call it, “eye muscle spasms” or jumping of the eye. Most of the times, such spasms subside in a few hours, but at other times, they may last for days or even weeks.
There are many medical and astrological theories to understand this condition. In this article, we explore the science and superstition behind eye jumping, and specifically, left eye jumping.
There are many names associated with left eye jumping or eyelid jumping, such as eye spasms, eyelid twitching or eyelid tics.
They all mean more or less the same thing in short. The scientific term used to explain the condition is “myokymia”, which is an involuntary eyelid muscle contraction, usually involving the lower eyelid or rarely the upper eyelid.
While these involuntary eye movements are quite common and most of the times nothing serious to worry about, there are two other terminologies related to the eye twitching that raises serious concerns:
It is an abnormal contraction of eye muscles which might last for weeks, or months persistently and eventually leads to serious problems and even functional blindness in some severe cases.
The person’s eyelids keep drooping uncontrollably and do not open without a lot of effort. This causes functional blindness simply because of their inability to keep their eyelids open. However, their eyes are still perfectly fine.
ii) Hemifacial Spasm
Hemifacial or half face spasm is an involuntary twitching or sudden rapid movement of one side of the facial muscles along with the eye. It is caused due to the facial nerve which controls the muscles of the face.
There is a facial nerve for each side of the face. Hence, any accidental pressure on this nerve might cause this condition to occur.
In most cases, it is a mild condition and doesn’t have any serious impositions other than embarrassment during social situations. In rare cases, such spasms might affect the vision in one eye on the side which is affected.
What Does It Mean For Your Left Eye To Jump?
While both left and right eye twitching are collectively referred to as “myokymia” in medical terms and are both treated no differently, there are several superstitions surrounding the part of the eye that twitches, the side of the eye and the gender of the person.
These superstitions also differ according to cultures and countries. Here are some of the superstitions regarding left and right eye twitching from different parts of the world:
In Africa, the countries that mostly follow the superstitions related to eye twitching are Cameroon and Nigeria. In Cameroon, a jumping eyelid of the left eye indicates that you are soon to cry, while twitching of the upper eyelid means that someone unexpected is soon going to visit you.
On the other hand, Nigerians believe that left eye twitching indicates bad luck. Also, most Africans associate left eye twitching with malicious intentions and envy.
Therefore, any person experiencing such contractions in the eye is feared and avoided such as to escape his “malicious aura”.
According to the myths in China, left eye jumping is an indication of good luck or good fortune. On the other hand, right eye twitching is considered an ill omen and a sign of a soon-to-hit tragedy.
Also, a twitching left lower eyelid is a sign that you are going to cry very soon. And that’s not it.
The Chinese believe that a twitching left eye can be interpreted differently according to the time of the day it occurs. Given below is a summarized explanation for the same:
|Timing||Left Eye Superstition|
|11:00 pm – 1:00 am||You are about to receive a visit from a nobleman.|
|1:00 am – 3:00 am||Something bad will happen to you soon|
|3:00 am – 5:00 am||You will receive a guest from another city soon.|
|5:00 am – 7:00 am||You will soon have a special guest.|
|7:00 am – 9:00 am||You will receive a visit from your best friend from another city.|
|9:00 am – 11:00 am||You will have a big feast or a party soon.|
|11:00 am – 1:00 pm||You will soon be invited over by someone to wine and dine to your fill.|
|1:00 pm – 3:00 pm||You are about to find success with your plans.|
|3:00 pm – 5:00 pm||You are about to lose some money soon.|
|5:00 pm – 7:00 pm||You will soon have a visitor.|
|7:00 pm -9:00 pm||You will soon have a visitor.|
|9:00 pm – 11:00 pm||You are going to meet a friend soon.|
The people in Hawaii have three superstitions for the involuntary ticking of an eye. The first superstition is that left eye twitching is an indication of an impending visit from a stranger to your place.
Another superstition in Hawaii considers left eye twitching as a sign of an imminent death in the family. However, the twitching of the right eye is considered a good omen and a sign of a soon-to-be-born child.
In India, there are very specific, detailed superstitions regarding eye twitching based on the gender, the eye that twitches and the part of the eye that twitches.
A jumping right eye is considered good omen for men whereas, the same indicates bad luck for women. On the other hand, left eye twitching is lucky for women and brings bad luck for men.
The part of the eye that twitches is also an important factor in deciphering its consequences. Left eye pupil twitching is an indication of good fortune, middle eye twitching implies monetary gains and left eyelid contraction shows that you might have to face a difficult situation soon.
In addition, twitching of the lower part of the left eye is a sign of a major expenditure to occur soon, and left eyebrow twitching is a bearer of good news and the possibility of the birth of a child.
Why Do Your Left Eye Keep Jumping
As most of the left eye twitching is benign and a rather common occurrence among people, it isn’t something to be worried about as such.
Despite it being such a common condition, there has been no solid proof but mere speculations by doctors and researchers as to what causes these contractions.
Left eye spasms are mostly thought to be triggered by certain lifestyle habits. Read along to understand these causes in detail:
Stress is considered to be the number one cause of involuntary left eye spasms.
It releases hormones in the body that keep it in an alert and defensive state all the time by arousing the muscles of the body.
This can be a major reason for your eyelid muscles to twitch involuntarily during stressful situations.
If you haven’t had enough sleep in the last few days, then don’t be surprised if you experience spasms in your eye. As I pointed out before, these spasms are caused because of the facial nerve which controls the facial and eye muscles.
Hence, if your eyes haven’t had enough time to relax, they are telling you that they are overworked by twitching involuntarily.
3. Nutritional Imbalance
If you have recently suffered from vomiting or diarrhea, it is quite possible that there is an imbalance of electrolytes in your body.
This can be a major issue as these electrolytes are essential for proper muscle-functioning of the body. Also, some reports indicate that a deficiency of magnesium can cause twitching sometimes.
Alcohol adversely affects the nerve coordination of the eye muscles causing involuntary contractions and spasms in the eye.
5. Eye Strain
People who work their eyes too hard experience frequent eye muscle spasms. Even a minor vision-related stress can affect the facial nerve and cause twitching in the eye.
Spending too much time in front of computer screens or television are also equally responsible for straining the eye and causing eye-twitching.
6. Polluted Environment
Our eyes are one of the most sensitive parts of our body. Pollution particles of dust, smoke and other harmful chemicals are very bad for the eye as they cause irritation and eventually lead to involuntary eye muscle twitching.
Too much of caffeine can be a trigger for eyelid jumping. Research from York University showed that caffeine triggers the release of serotonin and noradrenaline— arousing chemicals that may be stimulating the nerves.
This can result in eye irritation which calls for rigorous rubbing of eyes, subsequently causing the release of histamine which is a major reason for twitching of the eyelid.
9. Neurological Disorder
People suffering from neurological disorders like basal ganglia usually experience eye twitching more frequently.
10. Dry Eyes
All of us who spend a lot of time in front of computer screens experience “dry eyes” as staring at screens for a long time dries our eyes. It also rids our eyes of its natural lubricants. Dry eyes are a very important factor causing eye spasms, which means keeping your eyes moist would probably help in stopping the involuntary twitching.
When To Start Taking It Seriously?
Even though in a majority of the cases left eye jumping is not a big problem to be worried about, sometimes, it indicates serious medical conditions and requires seeking medical help as soon as possible to prevent any major damage.
It could be a serious case of a neurological disorder like Parkinson’s disease. However, you don’t need to panic as yet because eye twitching is linked to Parkinson’s disease in very rare cases.
So, it’s probably just a manifestation of some bad lifestyle habit. And besides, Parkinson’s is characterized by chronic spasms in the right part of the face, which may or may not necessarily is a symptom.
Here are a few indications that you need to see your eye doctor right away:
- Extreme left facial and eyelid spasms for three consecutive days
- The twitching causes your eyelid to close completely
- Twitching of one entire part of the face along with the eye
- Fluid discharge from the twitching eye
- Swelling or redness in the twitching eye
So, look for the warning signs before you consider seeking medical help from your eye doctor.
Remedies To Get Rid Eye Muscle Twitching
If you are going through eye muscle twitching, it is probably nothing too serious and it will go away in a couple of days.
As we have seen above, it is mostly due to some lifestyle habits or a recent change of sleep patterns and therefore, it doesn’t imply serious health concerns, except if it persists for a long time and causes a lot of discomforts.
So, if you are sick of it and are seriously worried about it, here are a few remedies to follow at home which will help you to get rid of it:
(Note: If you experience any of the 5 symptoms mentioned in the above section, DO NOT rely on these home remedies and immediately consult a doctor)
1. Face Steam
This is one of the best remedies to reduce the stress on your eyes. Steam relaxes the facial and eye muscles and also keeps the eyes hydrated.
And relaxed eyes mean no twitching. Just take steaming hot water in a bowl, cover your head with a blanket and position your face right in the direction of the steam and it’ll work wonders in calming your eyes in a matter of minutes.
2. Cut Down Caffeine And Alcohol
As mentioned above, alcohol and caffeine are powerful nerve and muscle triggers and affect the nerve coordination adversely.
Cutting down on these will automatically calm your muscles. I know how much coffee matters to all you night owls. But you need to give your body a break for a while!
3. Keep Your Eyes Well-Lubricated
Dry eyes can very often cause eye spasms. Hence, keeping them lubricated will go a long way in preventing the twitching. Just mix one tablespoon of honey in some lukewarm water and brush your entire face with this water.
The honey will soothe your eyelids and also keep the eyes lubricated. The condition of dry eye can also be tackled by taking prescribed antihistamine drugs or eye drops.
4. Hot And Cold Compress
Since twitching is caused by a stressed muscle, hot and cold compress may help in calming the muscle down. Try the warm compress first. If the twitching still persists, try using cold after warm, placing each one on the affected eye for about 10 minutes.
5. Take A Balanced Diet
As we saw above, nutritional imbalances can cause twitching in many cases. A nutritional and balanced diet will hence reduce the chances of eye twitching to a great extent.
Vitamin B deficiency, particularly vitamin B12 deficiency can make the muscles and nerves suffer. So, make sure you load up on these vitamins through a properly balanced diet.
6. Use Milk Drops
When exposed to pollution and dust particles, your eyes experience irritation and twitching. Milk helps to soothe the eyes and also keeps them lubricated. Just put a drop or two in each eye and your eyes will be relaxed and moisturised within a few minutes.
7. Sleep Well
Adequate sleep would relax your eye muscles and facial muscles and subsequently make the twitching go away. 7-8 hours a day is the ideal sleeping time for an average adult to maintain the normal functioning of nerves and muscles.
Left eye jumping is very common and has different beliefs associated with it. While most of the times it’s nothing to worry about, sometimes it may require medical attention. Hopefully, the remedies in the article help you in some way or the other. Stay Healthy! Stay Natural!