What is Blepharospasm?

he term blepharospasm can be applied to any abnormal blinking or eyelid tic/twitch, and the name of the disorder makes sense once you break down the term. Blepharo means “eyelid”, and spasm means “uncontrollable muscle contraction”. So blepharospasm basically means that a patient has uncontrollable muscle contraction of the eyelid.

There are many causes of eyelid spasms, including dry eyes, Tourette’s syndrome, and Tardive Dyskinesia. Benign essential blepharospasm is a chronic benign condition, which essentially means that it is not life threatening. Blepharospasm involves abnormal, uncontrolled eyelid and facial spasms or contractions on both sides. The visual disturbance is solely due to the forced closure of the eyelids, and should not be confused with true eyelid droopiness (ptosis) or hemifacial spasms, which is one-sided eyelid or facial spasms.

Below, a Patient Before and After Blepharospasm Treatment

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There are, thankfully, treatment options available for blepharospasm, with the most common one being botulinum toxin. This is a toxin produced by the Clostridium Botulinum bacteria, and periodic injections of the toxin will weaken the muscles by blocking nerve impulses transmitted from the nerve endings of the muscles. Minute doses of the toxin are usually injected intramuscularly into several sites above and below the eyes, but the exact site of the injection will vary slightly from patient to patient, and depend on the preference of Dr. Taban.

The botulinum toxin works by temporarily weakening or paralyzing the affected spasmodic muscles. Benefits begin in 1-14 days after the treatment, and last for an average of three to four months.

Long-term follow-up studies have shown it to be a very safe and effective treatment, with up to 90% of patients obtaining almost complete relief of their blepharospasm.

If you are suffering from blepharospasm, we strongly suggest you schedule a consultation with Dr. Taban by calling (805) 669-9101 today.