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Why Does My Eye Twitch When I Sneeze?

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A woman seated on a couch in the living room, sneezes while holding a tissue.

You’ve just sneezed and noticed that your eye twitched before, during, and maybe even a little after: “Blepharospasm” is the term for a condition potentially responsible for your eye twitching, also known as eyelid muscle spasms.

This phenomenon leads to your eyelids engaging in rapid and repeated movements, either fully or partially opening and closing without your control. Such involuntary actions can affect both the upper and lower eyelids.

However, there are other reasons besides blepharospasms for why your eyes might twitch when you sneeze, including allergies, stress, too much caffeine or alcohol, sensitivity to the light, or even a one-off experience. In most cases, this is a normal and common occurrence and not something to worry about.

If you experience persistent eye twitches, even without sneezes, you might want to get your eyes examined by your eye doctor at Los Angeles EyeCare. Our trained eye care professionals can help you find relief. 

Understanding Blepharospasms

Blepharospasm is a condition characterized by involuntary muscle contractions that cause the eyelids to blink or twitch uncontrollably. This phenomenon results from the muscles around the eyes engaging in spasmodic movements, leading to either partial or complete closure of the eyelids without any voluntary control from the individual. 

This condition can affect both the upper and lower eyelids, presenting challenges in daily activities such as reading, driving, or using digital devices. The unpredictability of these spasms adds an element of disruption, as individuals cannot anticipate when their eyelids might decide to engage in this involuntary action.

The Trigeminal Nerve 

When you sneeze, it’s a reflexive response triggered by irritation in your nasal passages. The sudden and forceful expulsion of air can create a ripple effect throughout your body, including your facial muscles and nerves. One theory behind why your eye twitches when you sneeze is related to the intricate network of nerves and muscles that control your facial expressions.

The trigeminal nerve, which is the largest cranial nerve, plays a significant role in transmitting sensory information from your face to your brain. This nerve is responsible for sensations in your eyes, nose, and mouth. When you sneeze, the forceful contraction of muscles around your nose and eyes can stimulate the trigeminal nerve, causing your eye to twitch involuntarily.

The Link Between Sneezing & Eye Twitching

The muscles surrounding your eyes are interconnected with those that facilitate sneezing. When a sneeze occurs, and these muscles contract, they may inadvertently stimulate your eyelid to twitch. It’s akin to attempting to maintain composure after an unexpected joke from a friend causes you to burst into laughter—your eyelid seems to participate in the moment involuntarily.

Additional Causes of Eye Twitching

Eye twitching can occur for many reasons including lifestyle choices, allergies, and even diet. Other leading causes of eye twitching include:

Dry Eyes

Not consuming enough water can lead to dry eyes, which might be why you’re experiencing that bothersome twitch. Dry eyes are uncomfortable for anyone, and it’s essential to stay hydrated. Additionally, excessive eye rubbing or engaging in activities that strain your body could lead to a burst blood vessel in your eye.


Allergies are not just about sneezing and itchy eyes. Surprisingly, allergens can also cause your eye to twitch by affecting the smooth muscles and blood vessels around your eye. It’s an unexpected reaction, but one that’s entirely possible.

Stress & Substances 

Common factors like stress, lack of sleep, and excessive caffeine intake can also contribute to eye twitching. In this case, your body might be signaling you to slow down and pay more attention to your well-being.

The eyelid twitch, officially known as myokymia, is generally no problem, but even though it’s nothing to lose sleep over, it can be super distracting. If your eyes are twitching too much, it might be worth looking into your daily routine. 

Cutting back on caffeine and alcohol, getting more regular and restful sleep, or even taking a relaxation break for a time might help resolve the twitching. 

Seeking Medical Attention

In most cases, eye twitching when sneezing is benign and temporary, resolving on its own without any medical intervention. However, you should visit a healthcare professional if your eye twitching:

  • Starts affecting other parts of your face
  • Causes your upper eyelids to droop
  • Sticks around for more than a week
  • Becomes so intense it shuts your eyelid
  • Is accompanied by eye discharge, redness, and swelling
An optometrist talking to his patient in an exam room.

Understanding the Intricacies of Eye Twitching During Sneezing

The sensation of your eye twitching when you sneeze is a fascinating example of how interconnected the various systems of the body are. 

While the exact mechanism behind this phenomenon may not be fully understood, it’s likely due to a combination of muscle contractions, nerve stimulation, certain external factors, and changes in pressure within the nasal passages. 

The next time your eye twitches as you sneeze, you can rest assured knowing that it’s just your body’s unique way of responding to a sudden and forceful expulsion of air. If the twitching doesn’t resolve promptly, get in touch with your eye care experts at Los Angeles EyeCare

Book your appointment today, we’re here for you!

Written by Total Vision

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