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Blepharospasm is an abnormal, involuntary blinking or spasm of the eyelids

Updated: Sunday, Jun 13,2010, 5:08:25 PM
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 it is a progressive neurological disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions and spasms of the eyelid muscles. It is a form of dystonia, a movement disorder in

which muscle contractions cause sustained eyelid closure, twitching or repetitive movements. BEB begins gradually with occasional eye blinking and/or irritation.

Blepharospasm is an abnormal, involuntary blinking or spasm of the eyelids. Blepharospasm is associated with an abnormal function of the basal ganglia from an unknown cause.

Deep in the brain, the basal ganglia are clusters of nerve cells surrounding the thalamus. They are responsible for initiating and integrating movements. In rare cases, heredity

may play a role in the development of blepharospasm.

most people develop blepharospasm without any warning symptoms. It may begin with a gradual increase in blinking or eye irritation. Some people may also experience fatigue,

emotional tension or sensitivity to bright light. Other symptoms, may include involuntary winking or squinting of one or both eyes, increasing difficulty in keeping the eyes

open and light sensitivity. Generally, the spasms occur during the day, disappear in sleep, and reappear after waking. As the condition progresses, the spasms may intensify,

forcing the eyelids to remain closed for long periods of time, and thereby causing substantial visual disturbance or functional blindness. it is important to note that the

blindness is caused solely by the uncontrollable closing of the eyelids and not by a dysfunction of the eyes. BEB occurs in both men and women, although it is especially common

in middle-aged and elderly women.

As the condition progresses, the symptoms become more frequent and facial spasms may develop.

To date, there is no successful cure for blepharospasm, although several treatment options can reduce its severity.

the injection of botulinum toxin into the muscles of the eyelids is an approved treatment for blepharospasm. Botulinum toxin, produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum,

paralyzes the muscles of the eyelids.

Medications taken by mouth for blepharospasm are available but usually produce unpredictable results. Any symptom relief is usually short-term and tends to be helpful in only 15

percent of the cases.

Myectomy, a surgical procedure to remove some of the muscles and nerves of the eyelids, is also a possible treatment option. This surgery has improved symptoms in 75 to 85

percent of people with blepharospasm.

Alternative treatments may include biofeedback, acupuncture, hypnosis, chiropractic and nutritional therapy. The benefits of these alternative therapies have not been proven.

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