Blepharospasm

Essential blepharospasm is an involuntary condition usually involving both eyes, where the eyelids and, sometimes, the eyebrows close involuntarily. In advanced cases, muscles of the mouth or neck are sometimes involved in these spasms. When these spasms occur, temporary inability to see may result because of the involuntary eyelid closure. These spasms are rare but very troublesome, and often incapacitating.

Blepharospasm is caused by abnormal nerve impulses, which produce muscle spasm. It is almost never a psychiatric disease.

TREATMENT

Blepharospasm can be treated with medications, biofeedback, injection of botulinum and surgery.

Medications and biofeedback are rarely successful in managing blepharospasm, but may be advised in mild cases or cases not responding to other treatment.

Botulinum injections are now the most commonly recommended treatment for blepharospasm. Injection of botulinum (botulism toxin) in very slmall quantities into the muscles around the eyes relaxes the spasm. The injection works for several months, but will slowly wear off and usually needs to be repeated.

The treatment is very successful with few side effects. Drooping of the eyelids, double vision or dryness of the eye are possible side effects, but occur rarely and will subside as the injection wears off.

Surgery may also be recommended by your eye doctor. The surgeon removes either the nerve causing the spasm or the spastic muscles themselves. The surgical results are generally permanent and any side effects are also usually permanent.