People who experience eyelid spasms
have a condition in which the eyelids twitch or close involuntarily.
The three most common types of eyelid
- eyelid twitch (or tic)
- essential blepharospasm
These three types are discussed below.
What Causes Eyelid
The cause of minor eyelid twitching is
unknown. A slight spasm of the lower eyelid or even both eyelids
is common and of no concern and is common and happens spontaneously.
This condition is thought to be related to stress and/or fatigue.
Minor eyelid twitches require no treatment as they usually disappear on
their own. Reducing stress, increasing your amount of sleep, and
decreasing caffeine intake may help to relieve eyelid twitches.
However, if the twitches become worse, you should have an
ophthalmologist examine your eyes.
What is Essential
Essential blepharospasm is a condition in which the eyelids close
involuntarily. It usually involves both eyes. The episodes
can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes or even hours.
Early stages of the condition involve sporadic blinking, winking or
pinching of the face. In advanced stages, the spasms cause the eyelids
to close forcefully-to the point where vision is very limited.
Advanced stages of essential blepharospasm can interfere with daily
activities, such as walking down stairs, driving, operating machinery or
Blepharospasm is caused by abnormal nerve impulses,
which produce muscle spasm. In the majority of patients, it
develops abruptly with no known cause.
Blepharospasm be Treated?
There are several treatment
options available, including:
- Botulinum toxin (Botox@)
- drug therapy
Injections of a muscle
relaxant called Botulinum toxin (commonly referred to as Botox) into
facial muscles around the eye have been very effective in
controlling the spasms associated with blepharospasm. Small
doses of Botox are injected with a very slender needle into several
muscles above and below your eye. Relief from spasms begins
anywhere from one day to two weeks after the injections and usually
lasts an average of four months. Short-term side effects may
include tearing, double vision, droopy eyelids or blurred vision.
are the most effective method of treatment, used in about 90-95% of
cases. In the remaining 5-10% of cases, Botox is either
ineffective or not preferred, and drug treatment or surgery is used
for blepharospasm requires patience, as finding a successful mix of
drugs and doses may take some time. Some drugs are more
effective for some patients than others, and certain drugs may
produce shortterm benefits and/or unpleasant side effects. It
is important to follow the instructions of your ophthalmologist or
neurologist, and report side effects if they occur.
recommended when Botox and drug treatment do not work. There are two
common types of surgery. One involves removing the facial muscle
that is causing the spasms. The second involves removing a
portion of the nerve in order to reduce the severity of the spasm.
Short or long-term side effects are possible, and should be
discussed with your ophthalmologist before surgery.
Hemifacial spasm is an involuntary spasm of facial muscles that
occurs on only one side of the face. In the majority of cases,
the symptoms start near the eye and then progress down the face.
In advanced cases, the individual spasms can last for extended
Causes Hemifacial Spasm?
It is believed that hemifacial spasm occurs when a blood
vessel presses on a facial nerve. How can hemifacial spasm be
treated? Botox injections are used in the majority of
patients. Drug therapy can be used, but it is effective in
only about 5% of cases. Rarely, surgery may help to relieve
the compression of the blood vessel on the nerve, but serious
complications are possible, such as permanent hearing loss and
Why are regular medical eye
examinations important for everyone?
Eye disease can occur at any age. Many eye
diseases do not cause symptoms until the disease has done damage.
Since most blindness is preventable if diagnosed and treated early,
regular medical examinations by an ophthalmologist are very important.
If you are experience any optical difficulties, or just need a
routine eye exam, please make an appointment to see Dr. Cano or