What can I do about an eye twitch?
An optometrist says: While an eye twitch can be annoying, it's rarely noticeable to other people and will usually resolve itself by the end of the day.
The treatment: To help relieve the tic, apply a cool compress. Take a clean washcloth or towel, soak it in cold water, wring it out, and fold it to a comfortable size. Lie down and place the compress over your eyes for about 20 minutes. The cold constricts your blood vessels, drawing blood away from the muscles around the eye and easing the twitch. Don't use a warm compress-heat will bring more blood to the muscles, which will aggravate the problem. If the twitching continues for several days, you feel numbness in the skin on your face, or you notice that your pupils aren't the same size, see your primary care physician or eye doctor as soon as possible to check for more serious conditions.—Cristina Schnider, O.D., director of medical affairs for Vistakon, the makers of Acuvue contact lenses
A psychotherapist says: Twitching is sometimes an indirect way to release stress. A tic that affects your eyes could be the result of repressing or not acknowledging something you've seen, for example.
The treatment: The first step in addressing a twitch is to pay attention to what triggers it. What situations calm or aggravate the tic? Does it get worse at work? At home? What makes you feel anxious? Once you're more mindful of what causes your twitching, you can start thinking about why you react the way you do-and what you can do to break those patterns. One way to get more in touch with your thoughts is to practice breathing exercises or mindfulness meditation for ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes at night. It's all about discovering the forces in your life that affect you subconsciously and learning to deal with tension.—Marc Sholes, L.C.S.W., a psychotherapist in private practice in New York City
An acupuncturist says: A liver-gall bladder imbalance can bring wind into the body, which can cause a tic.
The treatment: To prevent twitching, get plenty of rest and stay hydrated (this helps keep your liver healthy), avoid eating before bed (so your liver isn't working while you sleep), and cut down on alcohol and caffeine. To treat an eye twitch, acupuncture needles are usually applied to the Du- 20 point on the top of the head-this helps balance yin and yang. Needles may also be placed between the big toes and adjacent toes (the Liver 3 point); between the pointer fingers and thumbs (the Large Intestine 4); and on the elbows (the Heart 3). If the tic is chronic, I suggest taking Gastrobia Uncaria-9 grams a day in pill or granule form for ten days. It can be combined with Relaxed Wanderer, another herbal formula for liver imbalance.—Amelia Hirota, D.Ac., Dipl. C.H., an acupuncturist, herbalist, and clinician at the Center of Balance in East Greenwich, R.I.