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Strange Eye Movements And Twitches
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My 11 year old son developed some really weird eye movements (excessive blinking at times, rolling eyes to side involuntarily and twitch-like movements) a few years ago. The doctor and his teacher thought it was related to stress, since we were in the process of adopting our youngest. Other symptoms started pointing me to celiac or gluten intolerance. He has been off milk since he was a toddler.

He had blood tests (whole celiac panel) in December, which were all normal, but the pediatrician agreed that a gluten-free diet trial would be a good idea. His behavior in school and at home improved, digestive problems got a bit better and we didn't notice at the time, but his eye twitching/moving thing got better too. But he decided that I was crazy and that he was fine, so he started cheating constantly and I gave up. That was last month. Now his eye thing is getting really bad again. Other symptoms are returning too. I just ordered the Enterolab tests for gluten and the gene test. We agreed that if the tests show he is gluten sensitive then he will go back to being gluten-free. He is an intelligent 11 year old and wants "proof" that there is something wrong before he sticks to a doubly restricted diet.

Anyway, sorry to ramble, but has anyone else had this experience with their child or themselves? I've seen other people with the same eye thing and I've always wondered what caused it. Can it be related to gluten?

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What does he say about his eye movements? Does he notice that he's doing them? Does he feel like he "has to" do them, or do his eyes just move like that on their own? I know there may not sound like much of a distinction to you, but what I'm trying to get at is: does he feel like he is choosing to move his eyes because he really needs to move them, or does he feel like he has no control over the movements?

I ask because if he feels that he has voluntary control over the movements, but that he "needs to" move them that way, it could be an indication of OCD. Many people don't realize that OCD is an anxiety disorder - people with OCD do compulsive behaviors in order to decrease their anxiety. And, as those of us who've looked into celiac know, anxiety can definitely be caused by gluten.

Just wondering.

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Wow! Yes. I saw an episode of Mystery Diagnosis where a toddler had this along with things that looked like seizures. He had the involuntary eye movements. Of course, no doctor believed them until they videotaped it. It could be gluten sensitivity affecting neurological functioning.

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Stress can definately cause twitching. Also, have you looked into Tourette's?

-Jessica :rolleyes:

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What does he say about his eye movements? Does he notice that he's doing them? Does he feel like he "has to" do them, or do his eyes just move like that on their own? I know there may not sound like much of a distinction to you, but what I'm trying to get at is: does he feel like he is choosing to move his eyes because he really needs to move them, or does he feel like he has no control over the movements?

I ask because if he feels that he has voluntary control over the movements, but that he "needs to" move them that way, it could be an indication of OCD. Many people don't realize that OCD is an anxiety disorder - people with OCD do compulsive behaviors in order to decrease their anxiety. And, as those of us who've looked into celiac know, anxiety can definitely be caused by gluten.

Just wondering.

He can't control it and sometimes isn't even aware that he's doing it. When he is aware, he gets upset and that makes it worse. The thing that caught my attention is that he completely stopped doing it when he was gluten-free and it just started again. Once he started again we all realized that he hadn't been doing it for several months. School is out, stress is reduced and the only thing that's been different is that he's back on gluten.

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Lonewolf -

That sounds much more like tourette's than OCD. Which doesn't mean that it is not gluten related . . . it just means that it isn't likely to be because of anxiety. Good luck in figuring out what's wrong and what's causing it. You might also try keeping a record of how often he is doing these things and then record how often he does them once he's gluten-free again. This may be enough "proof" for him to be willing to stay on the diet.

Best Wishes!

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Liz, he has some of the very same symptoms as me, and they are possibly Tourette syndrome, not OCD. I find that my tics aren't as bad since I've gone gluten-free, but always increase under stress. And the eye blinking is the only one I have absolutely no control over (most other tics I can suppress for a while, but eventually they have to come out, or my anxiety will get to where I will have a meltdown).

So, find information about TS (here is a link to start out with Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada , for you to find some info), and see if your son has other TS symptoms.

Ah, I see that Betsy was writing at the same time as me, and we were thinking the same thing.

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I had looked into Tourette's a couple of years ago. The only thing he has is his eyes. And he has some ADD behavior that went away, or at least got WAY better, when he was gluten-free. He doesn't have any other tics, shoulder movements or anything, no vocal tics or any of the other symptoms listed.

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When I had gluten in my diet, I had wierd muscle twitches, the worst being the muscle right under my eye involuntarily twitched for months. I though it was a mineral depletion so I started taking vitamins and minerals, which only helped on occasion. Now that I am gluten free, its gone.

I would say if the gluten free helped him, you definately need to do that. Even it is an underlying issue, the gluten does not help. And he obviously has other issues with gluten.

When I accidentally ingest gluten, I get wierd muscle twitches. I feel like light is really brighter than it is and I can't concentrate. It messes with my vision and I feel like if I kept eating it, the next level would be some kind of epilepsy.

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My DD had problems similar to this and experienced whole body shudders. This was of course blown off by her doctor as they never occured 'on demand' in her office. She was experienceing minor seizure activity due to the neurological effect of gluten.

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well i decided to take the gluten challenge and have been eating it for a week after not eating it for 3 1/2 months. all the gi issues are there as well as bone and joint PAIN and for the past 3 days my right eye has been twitching like crazy all day long. hopefully your son's will subside when gluten is eliminated. :)

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