Blepharospasm is an eye muscle disorder in which the sufferer experiences forcible, uncontrolled closure of eyelids. A normal adult blinks his or her eyes at a rate of 15 to 20 blinks per minute. This eye blinking rate decreases significantly when focusing on something, reading a book or working on laptop or computer. Similarly, you blink your eyes more when you are fatigued, sleepy, stressed or in the presence of an irritant in or around the eyes. However, in some individuals eyelid closure frequency increases to an extent that the person seems to be helpless in controlling the eyelid movement. This condition is called blepharospasm, a type of focal dystonia in which localized movement of the muscles around the eyes cause abnormal muscle spasms.
This increased eyelid closure frequency seriously affects a person’s ability to perform day to day tasks, as the condition gets worse when exposed to bright light, or when a person tries to focus on things, like reading, writing, driving and working on computer. Stress and fatigue can also trigger eyelid muscle spasms, which last for periods varying from just a few minutes to several hours, and often repeatedly.
Whilst there is no known cure for this condition till date, various treatment options are available that can help alleviate symptoms of blepharospasm and improve the condition. Botox injections comprise one of the most effective treatments available for blepharospasm nowadays. The toxin, which is known more for its cosmetic applications, is directed into the eye muscles using a very small, fine needle, where it works by interfering with release of acetylcholine. The paralytic effect of toxin starts appearing 36 to 48 hours after first getting the injection, and prevents the associated muscles from contracting. Effects of treatment normally last for 3-4 months, but about 5% of the patients sustain relief for six or more months.