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Computers and Health: How Staring at a Computer Can Literally Cause Your Eyelids to Twitch

12.20.10

Over the past few months, I’ve taken on a number of new responsibilities at work including a promotion to the position of Social Media Director — meaning that all things social media go through my desk first.  It’s been an exceeding rewarding and enjoyable experience, but one that has come with its own stresses and challenges, many of which are new to me.

Why do I bring this up now?  Two words: eyelid twitches.

For the past week or two now, the corner of my right eyelid has been twitching uncontrollably off and on throughout the day.  No idea why.  I just assumed that it would go away as some random occurrence, but still it continues.  Then today I mention it in passing to a co-worker who says: “Oh, I get that, too.  It’s stress.”

A-ha! That makes some sense.  I have been more on edge lately, more tired lately, having more difficulty getting up in the mornings.  She could be onto something here.  Naturally, I Google “eyelid twitching” to see what the ole Internets have to say about it.

Here’s what All About Vision had to say:

Stress: While we’re all under stress at times, our bodies react in different ways. Eye twitching can be one sign of stress, especially when it is related to vision problems such as eye strain (see below). Reducing the cause of the stress can help make the twitching stop.

Wait a minute: vision problems? I suppose it would make sense that an issue with one’s eye could indicate vision problems.  But not me.  I have 20/20 vision in one eye and 20/15 (that’s better than perfect) in the other (not sure which one is which, maybe my right eye is merely perfect, hence the twitching).  Although, the last time I had a vision exam I think I was still counting the number of hair follicles emerging from my face.

Okay, what else:

Tiredness: A lack of sleep, whether because of stress or some other reason, can trigger eyelid spasms. Catching up on your sleep can help.

It’s 1:33pm as I type this very sentence on a Monday and I could most likely doze off for a 45 minute nap right now without much trouble.  Tiredness? Check.

What else?

Eyestrain: Vision-related stress can occur if, for instance, you need glasses or a change of glasses. Your eyes may be working too hard, triggering eyelid twitching. Computer eye strain from computer use is also a very common cause of vision-related stress.

Computer eye strain, you say?  Well, I haven’t done an actual count, but if I had to guess, I’d say I spend 12 of my 16 average waking hours in front of a computer — 13 hours if you count how often I’m looking at my iPhone.  Does that count as computer eye strain?  Laugh at me, shake your head and scoff all you want: I’m just being honest; doing social media isn’t exactly something you can do with a hammer and nails.  I’ve also noticed that when I go outside and look out into the distance, I have trouble focusing my eyes.

Anything else?

If your eyelid twitching is persistent and very annoying (like the problem experienced by my patient’s wife), you should have an eye exam, because you may need vision correction. If you spend a lot of time on the computer, you also should consider talking to your eye doctor about special computer eyeglasses.

Special. Computer. Eyeglasses.

Sounds wonderful.  I hope they look more like goggles than actual specs; that’d be very appropriate.

Other possible causes are allergies, dry eyes, and nutritional imbalances. I haven’t switched up my eating habits in a while and while I’ve never been tested for specific allergies, I figure I’d have experienced this eyelid phenomenon before were that the cause.

Conclusion: my computer addiction is causing my eyelid to twitch.  Since I have a negative chance of declining my computer usage, looks like this is just something I’ll have to get used to.  Maybe it’s evolution at work.  Perhaps this is making me most effective at absorbing content through this glossy, bright screen than other humans.

Or, I’m just going to be blind soon.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

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3 comments

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ryan Mason, christopher. christopher said: Computers and Health: How Staring at a Computer Can Literally …: Eyestrain: Vision-related stress can occur if… http://bit.ly/eRbKYg […]


  2. I believe I may be suffering from the same malady…I’m looking into computer goggle/glasses immediately!


    • Could be an emerging market. Let’s get in on the ground level… before we go blind!



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