Blepharospasm is a condition involving involuntary closing of the eyelids, and may sometimes affect the eyebrows. This condition usually involves both eyes. In advanced cases, muscles of the mouth or neck are sometimes affected. When these spasms occur, temporary inability to see may result. These spasms are rare, but very troublesome and often incapacitating. Blepharospasm is caused by abnormal nerve impulses which produce muscle spasms. It is very rarely a psychiatric disease.
Blepharospasm can be treated with medications, biofeedback, injection of botulinum, and surgery. Medications and biofeedback are rarely successful in managing blepharospasm, but may be recommended in mild cases or cases not responding to other treatment.
Botulinum injections are now the most commonly recommended treatment for blepharospasm. Injection of botulinum (botulism toxin) in very small quantities into the muscles around the eyes relaxes the spasm. The injection works for several months, but will slowly wear off and usually needs to be repeated.
The treatment is very successful with few side effects. Drooping of the eyelids, double vision, or dryness of the eye are possible side effects, but rarely occur and will subside as the injection wears off.
Surgery may also be recommended by your eye doctor. The surgeon removes either the nerve causing the spasm or the spastic muscles themselves. The surgical results and side effects are usually permanent.