Eye twitching during pregnancy
Eye twitching is common during pregnancy and is typically harmless and temporary. Pregnancy can be a highly stressful time, and stress is the most common cause of eye twitching. Certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well as fatigue experienced as a result of pregnancy can also lead to eye twitching.
Though pregnancy-related eye twitching is often mild, in rare cases, eye spasms that are more intense could be a sign of a significant underlying condition. If eye twitching persists or interferes with vision, special treatment may be needed, though adjusting some common habits is usually all that is needed to help reduce eye twitching.
Eye twitching and pregnancy: Causes and treatment
There are several circumstances and behaviors that may link eye twitching and pregnancy, from stress and fatigue to caffeine intake.
Eye twitching during pregnancy can often be avoided or treated by changing daily habits, like healthy sleep patterns and diet choices.
Tiredness is expected during pregnancy for various reasons, including discomfort, hormonal changes and difficulty sleeping — just to name a few. Eye twitching often occurs as a result of fatigue but can typically be treated by getting more rest.
Suggested treatment: Be sure you are getting enough rest, and incorporate naps into your daily routine as needed. Meditation can help ease your body into rest, but talk to your doctor if you’re having trouble getting to sleep.
Like fatigue, stress can be brought on by both emotional and physical changes, as well as hormonal. Stress affects the nervous system and can trigger eye twitching. This can occur at any stage of pregnancy.
Suggested treatment: Light exercise such as walking can help relieve stress. Self-care activities like journaling, meditation and prenatal yoga are also common ways to reduce stress and help decrease eye twitching.
Dry eyes/eye strain
Changes in hormone levels during pregnancy can cause dry eyes, which may become even more prevalent if you spend excessive amounts of time looking at digital screens. Dry eyes and/or eye strain can cause eyes to twitch as well.
Suggested treatment: Try over-the-counter natural tears for dry eyes. Reduce time in front of screens when possible or invest in blue light blocking glasses to relieve digital eye strain.
Vitamin and mineral deficiency
Keeping the body’s levels of vitamins and minerals is crucial, especially during pregnancy. Vitamins and minerals such as iron, folic acid, potassium, calcium and magnesium specifically help to regulate muscle contractions, and if levels of these vital nutrients are imbalanced, eye twitching or spasms are more likely to occur.
Suggested treatment: Take prenatal vitamins as recommended and incorporate foods rich in magnesium (nuts and avocados), potassium (bananas) and calcium (leafy greens) into your diet.
It is okay to have caffeine in moderation during pregnancy, but too much caffeine can trigger involuntary eye spasms and twitching. Be sure to talk to your doctor about how much caffeine is acceptable for a healthy pregnancy.
Suggested treatment: Cut back on caffeine and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. If you drink coffee or tea regularly, balance your intake by drinking additional glasses of water.
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Some medication affects the nerves, which can trigger eye spasms. This is more common in the first trimester of pregnancy, though it may happen in the later months of pregnancy as well.
Suggested treatment: Tell your doctor about any side effects, especially if they are severe. Your doctor can best determine if and how your treatment plan with a certain medication should be adjusted.
It is common to experience minor changes in vision during pregnancy — especially when it comes to blurry vision and light sensitivity. These changes may also cause eye twitching.
Though most cases of vision change during pregnancy are temporary, an underlying cause such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia (due to high blood pressure) could be present.
Suggested treatment: Report symptoms to your healthcare provider and see an eye doctor if the changes are affecting your visual acuity.
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When to see a doctor for eye twitching during pregnancy
While eye twitching is common during pregnancy and is usually mild and temporary, if you experience severe spasms or if spasms lead to further issues such as fever, pain, eyelid drooping or vision obstruction, contact your doctor. More extreme side effects can be a sign of a significant underlying condition.
Do not hesitate to ask your doctor about healthy levels of caffeine, vitamins and minerals, as these levels can differ from patient to patient. It may be necessary to adjust your diet and various daily routines to decrease eye twitching, but doing so can allow for a more comfortable experience.
Page published in December 2020
Page updated in January 2021