People can experience tics or twitches at any age. These are involuntary movements of muscles that often are very spasm like. They can occur anywhere on the body, but are commonly seen in facial muscles like the eyelid. Generally these tics and twitches are temporary and will resolve themselves in a matter of days or hours. However, in some cases they can be a result of a tic disorder. Let’s learn more about one common tic disorder, involuntary eye twitching in children.
The Difference between Tics and Twitches
Tics and twitches are not the same, although these two terms are commonly used interchangeably. Tics are not involuntary eye movements, rather they are unvoluntary. This means that a person with a tic may be able to suppress the tic for a period of time with some level of discomfort. Twitches on the other hand are involuntary. They cannot be controlled or suppressed. Tics generally occur in a series of multiple movements while twitches are often a singular involuntary muscle spasm.
How Common Are Tics and Twitches in Children?
Tics and twitches can occur at any age, but are most commonly seen in children. It is estimated that 25% of children experience some sort of tic. They are three times more common in boys than in girls. Tics can be brought on by stress and sleep deprivation, but the underlying cause for them is unknown. Tics are more commonly found in children while twitches are seen more commonly in adults. Your doctor can help you to determine if your child’s eye twitching is a result of a tic or a twitch and can help you to determine what treatment options will be the most effective.
Eye Twitching- What Is It?
Eye twitching occurs when the eyelid moves involuntarily. Eyelid tics and twitches are very common. Most people that experience eye twitching notice that the bottom eyelid is affected more often than their top eyelid, although either can occur. Twitching is generally temporary and can last for hours, days and sometimes even weeks or months.
The exact causes of eye twitching are unknown, but research suggests that certain factors can make lead to a higher occurrence of twitching, especially in those that are susceptible to the condition. In children these often include stress, lack of sleep, eye strain, caffeine consumption, nutrient deficiencies or allergies. Learning what brings on eye twitching in your child can help to lessen their occurrence. Most of the time eye twitching isn’t serious and doesn’t cause any problems other than being a source of irritation.
Treatment of Eye Tics in Children
Most of the time eye tics in children should not be cause for concern. They often only occur occasionally and do not interfere with everyday life. Most childhood tics will resolve themselves in time. If a child has a short term childhood tic disorder, like eye twitching, treatment is not needed. It is important not to call attention to the tic as this can make it worse. Reducing stress and eliminating those triggers that can make the tic worse can also be effective. If the eyelid twitching is interfering with daily life a doctor may be able to prescribe medication that can reduce the tic.
If you do need to see a doctor about your child’s eyelid twitching it is important to have information available so that the doctor can properly understand the condition for a proper diagnosis. Your doctor may want to know information like the child’s age when the tic first appeared, how long the twitches last and how severe they are.
If treatment is needed it will probably consist of behavioral therapy, medication or a combination of these two treatment options. Behavioral therapy focuses on finding ways to control the tic or twitch and medication is used to reduce the frequency of eye twitching. Treatment may enhance quality of life, but rarely eliminates the problem.
Eye twitching in children is common and is generally not a cause for concern. Most of the time this condition is temporary and will not cause any long term problems. When eye twitching is interfering with daily life a doctor may be able to help lessen the frequency and severity of the twitching. Always talk with your doctor if eye twitching is making it difficult for your child to see or it is interfering with daily life.