What is a Blepharospasm?
A blepharospasm is a neurological condition characterized by involuntary twitching or blinking of the eye due to a spasm of the muscles that control your eyelid. The condition affects women more than men and tends to run in families.
What Causes Blepharospasm
Although the exact cause is unclear, it is believed that abnormal electrical activity in the structures deep within the brain called the basal ganglion may play a role in the development of blepharospasm.
Symptoms of Blepharospasm
The symptoms of blepharospasm include:
- Constant blinking of the eyelids
- Dryness of the eyes
- Eye narrowing
- Eye irritation
What if Blepharospasm is Left Untreated?
If left untreated, symptoms of blepharospasm can affect your ability to work and perform routine activities of daily living. In the early stages, the symptoms can come and go intermittently. As the condition progresses, symptoms last for long periods of time with less periods of relief. At an advanced stage, you may have difficulty keeping the affected eye open.
Diagnosis of Blepharospasm
Blepharospasm can be diagnosed by your doctor based on your symptoms and an examination of your eyes. Special diagnostic tests are rarely necessary. However, since blepharospasm is a rare condition, you should consult a doctor who is experienced in treating the condition.
Treatment of Blepharospasm
The various options for treatment of blepharospasm include:
Oral Medications: Anticholinergic medications may be prescribed to block involuntary movement of the eyelids. However, these medications are limited in their effectiveness and do have some side effects including drowsiness, dry mouth, and memory problems.
Injections: Botulinum toxin injections which inhibit the twitching of the eyelid muscles is one of the more effective forms of treatment for blepharospasm.
Surgery: A myomectomy, which is a procedure to surgically remove part of the eyelid muscle, is only recommended if medications or injections do not relieve symptoms.