You know when you’re just sitting watching TV or at work trying to hit a deadline and suddenly your eyelid starts twitching out of control? It’s like it has a mind of its own—just totally making a scene for no apparent reason.

Eyelid twitches, also called myokymia, aren’t serious, but they certainly can be annoying. These tics most commonly occur on the upper eyelid, but can also occur on the lower lid as well. It can carry on for a few seconds to a minute, and sometimes longer than that.

I remember I got an eye twitch once right in the middle of a first date! Can you believe that? What a time for your face to literally freak out, right? It went on for about a minute and I kept turning away and covering it. Luckily my date had a sense of humor and he made a joke that I totally had eyes for him—get it?

Luckily eyelid spasms are pretty common and not a sign you’re in any serious danger, so you shouldn’t worry too much if you have one. (Even if it happens in the middle of a first date; I was just being a baby!) While they’re not usually caused by anything serious, they’re usually things that you can control.

A few reasons you could be experiencing eyelid twitches include that you’re:

  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Under a lot of stress
  • Majorly fatigued
  • Exerting a lot of physical energy lately
  • Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine
  • Using tobacco

Sometimes an eyelid twitch can be made worse if you have an eye infection, inflammation, pink eye, dry eyes, or if you are sensitive to light.

So how do you get rid of this annoying symptom? Most eyelid twitches are harmless and disappear without treatment. If you’re finding they’re not going away, try making an effort to get more sleep, cutting back on caffeine and/or alcohol, using artificial tears or eye drops to keep your eyes lubricated, and applying a warm compress to your eyes.

If nothing is helping, it might be a good idea to keep a journal — yes, an eye twitch journal! — to document when it’s happening and if there are any factors you can pinpoint it to. Write down the date and time they happen, along with what you ate that day— any coffee, wine, tobacco, etc.?

Also write down if you’re feeling particularly stressed, or how long you’ve slept that day and things like that. This will help you pinpoint exactly what’s causing them, which will help you make them stop happening. There’s some ongoing research to try to find out if eye spasms could be genetic, but it doesn’t seem to run in families.

If they don’t go away, see an ophthalmologist, because there are certain neurological problems that can make your eye muscles contract. While rare, it’s definitely worth getting checked out if they persist, though these are almost always accompanied by other symptoms.

So what kind of more serious problems could be the cause of eyelid spasms? Check out the informative video below to find out.

Do you get eyelid twitches? How do you stop them when you get them?