Orbicularis Oculi Muscle: Eye Pain and Twitching

The Orbicularis Oculi Muscle

The orbicularis oculi is the muscle that surrounds the eye.

Trigger points in the muscle cause pain above the eye and down the side of the nose. You may also experience eye twitching.

Contents of Article

Trigger Point Symptoms

Muscle Location

Trigger Points Cause

Trigger Point Treatment

Interesting Facts

Clinical Diagnoses

Muscles With Similar Pain Patterns


What pain and symptoms are associated with the orbicularis oculi muscle?

Pain in the area of the eye and nose

Trigger point pain in the orbicularis oculi muscle starts above the eye descending down the side of the nose, into the cheek and sometimes into the upper lip.

Twitching eye and drooping eyelid

Trigger points can also cause an annoying twitching of the eye and can also contribute to a drooping upper eyelid.

Problems Reading

If the print on a page seems to jump and move while you are reading it may be due to trigger points in the muscle.


Orbicularis Oculi Pain TWD Recommends:


The nodpod eye pillow is filled with microbeads and is excellent at blocking light. One side of the pillow is made to cool and the other side provides warmth. It stays in place no matter what position you sleep in.

Where is the orbicularis oculi muscle?

The muscle consists of 3 parts: the orbital part, palpebral part, and the frontal process. The muscle connects into the tissues of the eyelid.

What movements does it control?

  • Closes the eye
  • Blinking
  • Squinting

For detailed anatomy information: Orbicularis Oculi Anatomy Page

Orbicularis Oculi Muscles

What Causes Trigger Points In the Orbicularis Oculi Muscle?

Poor Eyesight and Eye Strain

If you strain to focus due to poor eyesight it is likely you will develop trigger points in the muscles. Working at computers and looking at phones, tablets, and T.V. screens are also notorious for causing eye strain.  Reading without adequate light is also hard on the eyes.

Overly Bright Lights

Sunlight and other bright lights that make you squint can lead to trigger points in the muscle. If you are out in bright sunlight it is important to wear sunglasses not only to protect your eyes but also to reduce strain on the orbicularis oculi muscle.


TWD Suggests:

PreserVision AREDS 2 Vitamin & Mineral Supplement is the doctor recommended eye vitamin to help reduce the risk of progression of moderate to advanced Age-related Macular Degeneration. If you have AMD AREDS has been shown to slow down the progression of the disease.



Ocuvite Eye Vitamins is a supplement containing vitamins and minerals that support eye health for all age groups. 

Orbicularis Oculi Muscle Trigger Point Treatment

The orbicularis oculi muscle is easily self-treated. Use your fingertips to gently massage around the eyes. If you find an area that is especially tender apply gentle pressure for up to 10 seconds. Applying pressure for longer can irritate the muscle and cause more pain and sensitivity.

The sternocleidomastoid (SCM) often plays a role in vision and eye problems and can affect the orbicularis oculi muscle. If you are experiencing vision or eye issues you will also need to check the SCM. The Trigger Point Workbook is a highly recommended book that will help you locate and treat TrPs not only in the above muscles but throughout the body. It is a must-have book for anyone who wants to learn about muscle pain and treatment.

TWD Recommends:

The best resource to learn how to treat small painful knots is The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. The authors explain trigger points and their effects in everyday language, not medical speak. I recommend this book to anyone interested in learning to treat their own muscle pain.

Interesting facts about the orbicularis oculi:

  • Eyestrain and poor eyesight can wreak havoc on this muscle. If this muscle suffers from constant shortening it will make the print on a page jump around or appear wavy.
  • The orbicularis oculi are the muscles that cause crow’s feet.

Clinical diagnoses to which the orbicularis oculi muscle symptoms may contribute:

TWD Suggests: Relief For Tired Eyes

Are your eyes tired and sore? The Huggaroo Head Wrap can bring needed relief. It can be used warm or cold for to help relieve tired stressed eyes and the surrounding muscles. It is also excellent for headaches, jaw/cheek pain, and treating TMJ.

  • Eyestrain
  • Tension headaches
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Sinus headache
  • Sinusitis
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome

TWD Recommendation for Chronic Pain :

Relief Factor

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the orbicularis oculi:

Satellite trigger points associated with the muscle:

If you find trigger points in the masseter muscle you will want to check these muscles for additional trigger points.

  • Frontalis
  • Temporalis
  • Posterior Cervical Muscles

Other Muscles With Similar Pain Patterns

Temporalis Muscle

Splenius Cervicis

Sternocleidomastoid Muscle


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