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Blepharospasm: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About blepharospasm

Blepharospasm, also called ‘hemifacial spasm’ is a blinking disorder characterised by abnormal blinking of the eyes. This may result from an involuntary spasm of the eye muscles which are responsible for opening and closing of the eyelids.

Blepharospasm: Incidence, age and sex

Blepharospasm is quite a commonly occurring condition worldwide. Older adults seem to be more susceptible to this disorder than the younger population.

Signs and symptoms of blepharospasm: Diagnosis

The onset of blepharospasm is gradual and may begin with chronic irritation of the eye, progressing to its excessive blinking, later. The spasm of the eyelid muscles generally does not occur during sleep. This condition characteristically affects only one eye. Blepharospasm may be triggered by certain factors like bright light, exhaustion, emotional stress or inadequate sleep. It may progress to increased frequency of spasms of eyelid muscles resulting in prolonged closure of the eye. It is recommended to consult an eye specialist who is able to detect the condition by a detailed eye examination.

Causes and prevention of blepharospasm

The cause of blepharospasm is not clearly known. It may be the result of malfunctioning of a small part of brain called the basal ganglia which is responsible for motor coordination of the body muscles. This malfunctioning may be due to trauma to the brain or diseases like Parkinson’s or Multiple sclerosis.

Blepharospasm: Complications

Blepharospasm is generally not a serious disorder. But in a handful of individuals, severe and persistent spasm of the eyelid muscles may finally end up in visual impairment or very rarely, blindness.

Blepharospasm: Treatment

Blepharospasm may be a long standing problem which requires effective treatment which helps in relieving the muscle spasm. This may be done by injecting botox injections, derived from bacteria, Clostridium botulinum into the eyelid muscles. This toxin will paralyze the eyelid muscles, thus releasing the spasm. In some instances, individuals have benefited from surgical intervention wherein the removal of affected eyelid muscles helps in relieving the spasm. It is advisable to wear sunglasses and take rest during the episode of muscle spasm.