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Eyelid Myokymia

  • Author: Byron L Lam, MD; Chief Editor: Edsel Ing, MD, FRCSC  more...
Updated: May 17, 2016


Myokymia is characterized by spontaneous, fine fascicular contractions of muscle without muscular atrophy or weakness. Eyelid myokymia results from fascicular contractions of the orbicularis oculi muscle. Eyelid myokymia is typically unilateral, with the most common involvement being one of the lower eyelids. When multiple eyelids are involved, the fascicular contractions of each eyelid are independent of each other.

In most cases, eyelid myokymia is benign, self-limited, and not associated with any disease. Intervention is usually unnecessary. Rarely, eyelid myokymia may occur as a precursor of hemifacial spasm, blepharospasm, Meige syndrome, spastic-paretic facial contracture, and multiple sclerosis.



Consisting of involuntary fine undulating contractions across the striated muscle, the pathophysiology of eyelid myokymia is not well understood. The contractions are nonsynchronous semirhythmic discharges of motor units discharging at a rate of 3-8 Hz. The discharges have intervals of 100-200 ms between individual motor bursts. The contractions are transient and intermittent. The focus of irritation is most likely the nerve fibers within the muscle. Pontine dysfunction in the region of the facial nerve nucleus also has been suggested. Possible precipitating factors include stress, fatigue, and excessive caffeine or alcohol intake.




United States

The incidence and prevalence of eyelid myokymia are unknown, but symptoms of eyelid myokymia are frequently encountered in the ophthalmic clinic.


Eyelid myokymia is a benign and self-limited condition in most patients, but, in some cases, it may be a precursor of hemifacial spasm, blepharospasm, Meige syndrome, spastic-paretic facial contracture, facial myokymia, and multiple sclerosis.


Eyelid myokymia usually occurs in adults but may occur at any age.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Byron L Lam, MD Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine

Byron L Lam, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Medical Association, Phi Beta Kappa

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Chief Editor

Edsel Ing, MD, FRCSC Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Hospital for Sick Children and Sunnybrook Hospital

Edsel Ing, MD, FRCSC is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Canadian Ophthalmological Society, North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society, Canadian Society of Oculoplastic Surgery, European Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Canadian Medical Association, Ontario Medical Association, Statistical Society of Canada, Chinese Canadian Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Ron W Pelton, MD, PhD Private Practice, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Ron W Pelton, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology, American College of Surgeons, AO Foundation, American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Colorado Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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