ⓘ Blepharospasm

                                     

ⓘ Blepharospasm

Blepharospasm is any abnormal contraction or twitch of the eyelid. The condition should be distinguished from the more common, and milder, involuntary quivering of an eyelid, known as myokymia. In most cases, blepharospasm symptoms last for a few days and then disappear without treatment, but in some cases the twitching is chronic and persistent, causing life-long challenges. In these cases, the symptoms are often severe enough to result in functional blindness. The persons eyelids feel like they are clamping shut and will not open without great effort. People have normal eyes, but for periods of time are effectively blind due to their inability to open their eyelids. In contrast, the reflex blepharospasm is due to any pain in and around the eye.

It is of two types: essential and reflex blepharospasm. Benign idiopathic blepharospasm is a focal dystonia - a neurological movement disorder involving involuntary and sustained contractions of the muscles around the eyes. The term essential indicates that the cause is unknown, but fatigue, stress or irritant several possible factors. Blepharospasm is sometimes part of benign fasciculation syndrome.

While there is no treatment, injection of botulinum toxin can temporarily help. A surgical procedure known as myectomy may also be useful. This is a fairly rare disease, affecting only one in every 20.000 people in the United States. The word from the Greek. βλέφαρον / eyelid and σπασμός / spasmos, convulsion, uncontrolled muscle contraction.