Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.


Eyelid Spasms Overview

Another name for Eyelid Spasms is Blepharospasm.

What is blepharospasm?
A person with a blepharospasm has abnormal blinking or twitching of the eyelids. The underlying cause is not clear, but appears to be related to abnormal function within an area of the brain called the basal ganglia. In some cases it may be related to a head injury or a drug side effect. Rarely is it related to an underlying brain condition, such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease. As the condition progresses, the symptoms may become more frequent and facial spasms may develop. Symptoms may diminish when sleeping or concentrating on a specific task.

What are the symptoms of blepharospasm?
Symptoms of blepharospasm include the gradual or sudden onset of eyelid twitching or blinking. Some may complain of mild eye irritation, sensitivity to bright light, and fatigue. Less commonly, facial twitching or spasms may be present. Symptoms may diminish when sleeping or concentrating on a specific task.

How does the doctor treat blepharospasm?
There is not successful treatment for blepharospasm. Some experts recommend botulism toxin injections into the muscles of the eyelids to reduce twitching. Oral medications only help a small percentage of patients. Surgery to remove some of the muscles or nerves in the eyelid may be an option in some cases.

Last Updated: Feb 6, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Eyelid Spasms References
  1. Costa J, Espirito-Santo C, Borges A, Ferreira JJ, Coelho M, Moore P, Sampaio C. Botulinum toxin type A therapy for blepharospasm. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005 Jan 25;(1):CD004900. [15674969]
  2. Jankovic J, Kenney C, Grafe S, Goertelmeyer R, Comes G. Relationship between various clinical outcome assessments in patients with blepharospasm.Mov Disord. 2009 Feb 15;24(3):407-13. [19053054]
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