It might come out of nowhere—like a sneeze but more subtle, like a muscle spasm but less encompassing. At first glance, someone in your immediate area might mistake it as you dropping them a hint or even maybe as you stifling back an oncoming sob. Your eye is inexplicably twitching, and you have no idea why.
It’s not like it’s Cutting Onions At Your Desk day at the office—that’s on Tuesday. (This is the reason why you cry when cutting onions, by the way). There’s a handful of reasons why your eye may have decided to go, rogue, according to Health.
One of the most common causes is dry eye, which, according to Mayo Clinic, can happen in plenty of common office situations, from sitting in an over-air-conditioned room to staring at a computer screen for too long—here are some symptoms of dry eye you don’t want to miss. Other common causes of eye twitching include stress (the American workplace is super stressful, after all), sleep deprivation, and excessive caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine consumption.
The more medically-concerning causes of eye twitches include conditions like glaucoma, corneal abrasion, or blepharitis or uveitis (inflammation of the eyelids).
Treating an eye twitch starts with nailing down the precise cause. If it seems stress-related, a meditation exercise or this effective workplace stress-relieving activity might be your solution. If it seems caffeine related, curbing your macchiato consumption from four to one per day might help. And if it seems to relate to dry eye, adding a bottle of eye drops to your in-desk medical arsenal is never a bad idea.
For those that can’t seem to avoid staring a screen all day, giving your eyes a rest from your displays is always a good idea (along with these other helpful tips for improving your eyesight). If eye irritation and twitches become a regular issue, take a break from the screen every ten minutes, close your eyes for a few seconds and then focus on an object in the distance. This will ease your focus a bit, and lighten the artificial light load that slowly burden your eyeballs.