Ross' Blog

Why Does my Eye Twitch?

A twitchy eye is generally considered a non-serious eye condition and is commonly experienced by patients. Medically, an eyelid twitch is referred to as  ‘Myokymia’.  The twitching sensation is the result of the sudden spasmodic contraction of the obicularious muscle, which is normally used for closing your eyelids. The twitching sensation most often effects the lower eyelid and occasionally can even place pressure on the eyeball itself causing the eye to twitch. Some patients are convinced that their eye is actually twitching, however, this is a vary rare phenomenon.  Symptoms from myokymia can last up to a month and can disappear as quickly as they began.

The most common causes of myokymia include: 

  • Stress
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Fatigue
  • Eye infection
  • Tourette Syndrome
  • Excessive exercise
  • Reduced potassium levels 

Although most eyelid twitches are not medically significant, it is always best to visit your optometrist or eye doctor to rule out any other more serious eye related diseases. Treatment for myokymia usually involves rest and relaxation, drinking plenty of water, and eating foods high in potassium. 

Fun Fact: Did you know that seeing your optometrist for a condition like myokymia is now covered under Alberta Health Care.

What is Pink Eye?

To start, there are a few different types of pink eye:

Pink eye related to bacterial eye infections can cause a lot of swelling and produce sticky green discharge, resulting in eyes that are often ‘glued’ shut in the morning. Bacterial eye infections are more commonly seen in contact lens wearers and can result from our skins own bacteria.

Pink eye related to viral infections is by far the most common cause, and is caused by the same virus that results in the common cold. Viral pink eye will usually result in a watery eye with little to no discharge, but may still be crusted shut in the morning. Viral pink eye is the most contagious of all pink eyes, which is why it hangs out in preschools, daycares and work environments.

Pink eye related to allergies is more common after coming in contact with allergens and is often associated with other physical symptoms like stuffy nose, itchy skin or swollen eyes. People often complain of itching and may want to rub their eyes.

Pink eye can also be related to some more serious eye conditions like scleritis, uveitis, or iritis. These eye conditions require more urgent care, and will generally not resolve on their own if left untreated.

Regardless of the cause of your pink eye, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis by your optometrist to ensure that the treatment matches the condition. Please don’t touch anyone until you see us, and we’ll let you know if you are contagious.

Please Note: Alberta Health Care now covers the cost of emergency eye care visits to your optometrists office – there is no charge to you as a patient. 


My eyelashes are falling out. Help!

Have you been noticing a thinning appearance to your eyelashes or eyebrow area over the past few months? If so, you may be suffering from an eye condition known as madarosis.

One of the most common causes of madarosis is inflammation around the eyelid margins. Inflammation constricts the normal blood flow to the follicle or root of the eyelash, causing it to weaken and fall out. Inflammations may be secondary to normal bacterial infections such as blepharitis or more rare things like parasites and mites. Allergic reactions secondary to seasonal allergies or to cosmetic products can also cause eyelashes to fall out. Makeup use is often one of main causes behind madarosis as some waterproof mascaras or eyeliners can require a lot of scrubbing in order to remove them. This can loosen eyelashes and cause them to fall out.

Trauma to your eyelash or eyebrow area is another primary culprit. Trauma can be secondary to an injury, or can be self-induced by waxing or plucking. Eyelash or eyebrow hairs may not grow back or they may not grow back in the right direction. Trichotillomania is a psychological impulse disorder were by patients pull out scalp, body, eyelash and eyebrow hairs. This condition may require behavioral therapy versus medical therapy. Madarosis can also be induced from some cancer treatments, as these treatments target fast growing cells like hair follicles.

Madarosis can on occasion be secondary to more severe medical or ocular conditions such as benign or malignant tumors, endocrine disorders, or autoimmune conditions such as discoid lupus erythematosus. In some causes patients who have alopecia areata already may develop madarosis over time.

The initial treatment for madarosis is of course trying to determine the underlying cause of the condition and then treating that. If an underlying cause is not easily determined, then there are a few things patients can do. The first thing is to realize that it can take up to 2 months for eyelashes to regenerate, so you will not notice a difference overnight. Patients should also consider taking a close up photograph of their eyelids, so that they can monitor the progress and quantify the loss or gain of hair follicles.

I always suggest that patients stop wearing any makeup, mascara, eyeliners or fake eyelashes for about 2 months. The goal of this is to remove any chemicals that may be irritating the eyelid. I also suggest that contact lens wearers either consider wearing eyeglasses for this time or at the very least switch to a non-preservative contact lens solution such as ClearCare.  Patients should also perform warm compresses over their closed eyes every morning and every night for about 2-3 minutes, which helps to improve blood flow to the eyelashes. Gentle cleaning of the eyelash and eyebrow area can also be done every morning in the shower with a diluted baby shampoo mixer (1 part baby shampoo, 3 parts water) to remove any bacteria buildup that may be present at the base of the eyelash.

If you still are not noticing any improvement in the appearance of your eyelashes, then you should book an eye exam with your optometrist. In some cases, your eye doctor may need to refer you to an oculoplastic specialist or family doctor for further testing.


Blepharitis is an extremely common and potentially chronic eye care problem encountered by eye doctors. Blepharitis is defined as an inflammation of the eyelash follicles caused because of an overgrowth of normal skin based bacteria. This can be the result of excessive oil production around the eyelids, which provides the perfect home for bacteria to flourish.

Symptoms of blepharitis included crusty eyelids, itchy burning eyes and red swollen look eyelid margins. Left untreated, blepharitis can cause hordeolums (styes), eye irritation, eye infections and madarosis (loss of eyelashes). Blepharitis can be diagnosed during a routine eye exam with your eye doctor after a detailed examination of your eyelids and eyelashes.

Treatment for blepharitis involves daily cleaning of your eyelid area to remove any build up of oil or overgrowth of bacteria. Patients are directed to perform warm compresses over their closed eyes to loosen the bacteria and melt the oil. Lid scrubs are then performed in the shower with diluted baby shampoo or commercial made products such as Lid Care Solution or Lid Care Towelettes. In more severe cases, topical antibiotic ointments such as Besivance, Erythromycin or Bacitracin (not available in Canada but commonly used in the United States) may be required. Topical antibiotics are often used on patients prior to eye surgery to minimize the risk of a post-operative eye infection. 

Unfortunately, blepharitis can be a chronic eye condition, but with continual treatment the long-term prognosis is excellent. If you suspect that you suffer from blepharitis then book an eye examination with Dr. Ross McKenzie.