What is Blepharospasm?

Blepharospasm is an involuntary twitch or a spasm of the eyelid. It can occur in the upper or lower eyelid and one cannot control the repeated twitching. The spasms are usually painless and harmless and may resolve without any treatment.

Symptoms

Symptoms include repeated, uncontrollable eyelid twitching or blinking. It may begin gradually and may last from a few seconds to even hours. As the condition progresses, the frequency of experiencing these symptoms increases and you may feel that opening the eyelids becomes difficult. Fortunately, these symptoms usually subside when sleeping or concentrating on a certain task.

Causes

The mechanism behind blepharospasm is not fully understood. Current evidence suggests a dysfunction within a part of the brain responsible for muscle control. In rare cases, genetics play a role in the development of blepharospasm.

Blepharospasm have been reported to be associated with stress, fatigue, dry eyes or triggered by an underlying neurological condition such as Parkinson’s disease. It can also be a side effect of certain medications such as neuroleptics and dopaminergic drugs.

Blepharospasm Prevention

  • Getting sufficient sleep and rest
  • Manage your stress levels
  • Use artificial tears for dry eyes relieve
  • Take frequent visual breaks when doing near work

Treatment

Minor blepharospasm may resolve on its own without medical intervention. Persistent eyelid twitching may be an indication of an underlying eye condition such as blepharitis, severe dry eyes, meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). In rarer instances, it may be due to other underlying brain or nerve disorders. Treating these underlying conditions may treat blepharospasms.

Blepharospasm is not sight-threatening, but it is usually a lifelong condition. Symptomatic treatments come in the form of oral medicines, injection and surgical procedure. Sometimes, blepharospasm is treated using Botulinum toxin injection, also known as Botox. It is injected under the skin of the eyelid to paralyse the eyelid muscles temporarily, thereby relieving the spasms caused by the eyelid muscles. Surgical procedures may be recommended for those who have documented facial nerve compression with MRI imaging. This surgery involves decompression of the facial nerve by the neurosurgeon.

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