Blepharospasm and dystonia

Blepharospasm is a condition characterised by uncontrollable and sometimes painful muscle contractions around the eye. Symptoms can include excessive blinking and involuntary closure of the eyelids. In the absence of other ocular/eyelid problems, the cause is thought to be incorrect messages from the brain to the muscles around the eye. This is known as Essential blepharospasm and is a neurological disorder which should be diagnosed and treated by an ophthalmologist or a neurologist.


Blepharospasm usually starts gradually with initial symptoms such as eye irritation, light sensitivity and increased blinking. The frequency and severity of the muscle spasms often increases over the first one to two years. Symptoms usually appear between the ages of 50 and 70 but it may occasionally affect younger people. The condition is thought to affect around 7,000 adults in the UK.

 

The main treatment for blepharospasm is botulinum toxin injections which are successful in controlling most patients' symptoms.

The oculoplastic surgeons at Face & Eye are very experienced in the surgical management of patients who fail to respond to treatment with botulinum toxin. We recommend that you review the information available about this condition and its management at the following websites: www.dystonia.org.uk and www.blepharospasm.org

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