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Blepharospasm Causes

The causes of Blepharospasm are largely unknown, although some educated guesses are being made. In most cases, blepharospasm seems to appear spontaneously. Some blepharospasm patients have a history of dry eyes or light sensitivity, but others report no previous eye problems before onset of initial symptoms. Blepharospasm may also come from the abnormally-functioning basal ganglia. Combinations with dry eye, as well as other dystonias such as Meige's syndrome have been observed. The condition can be caused by concussions in some rare cases, when a blow to the back of the head damages the basal ganglia.

Blepharospasm Definition

A blepharospasm is any abnormal tic or twitch of the eyelid. It generally refers to Benign Essential Blepharospasm (BEP), a focal dystonia, in which a neurological movement disorder affects involuntary and sustained muscle contractions of the muscles around the eyes. Benign means that the condition is not life threatening and essential indicates that the cause of the condition is unknown. Fatigue, stress, or an irritant are possible contributing factors of the condition. Symptoms may sometimes last for a few days then disappear without treatment, but in most of the cases the twitching is chronic and persistent, causing lifelong challenges. The symptoms are often acute enough to result in functional blindness. The person's eyelids feel like they are clamping shut and will not open without much effort. Patients have normal eyes, but for periods of time are basically blind due to their inability to open their eyelids.

Blepharospasm Symptoms and Signs

Patients affected with this condition suffer from excessive blinking and spasming of the eyes, usually characterized by an uncontrollable eyelid closure of lengthy durations, usually longer than the typical blink reflex, and can sometimes lasting minutes or even hours. The patient may also experience uncontrollable tics or twitches of the eye muscles and surrounding facial area. Some sufferers have twitching symptoms that radiate into the nose, face and sometimes, even the neck area. Dryness of the eyes and sensitivity to the sun and bright light are also symptoms of the condition.

Blepharospasm Treatment

Some treatments for the condition include drug therapy where it has proved generally unpredictable and short-termed. Finding an effective regimen for any patient usually requires trial and error over long lengths of time. In some cases a dietary supplement of magnesium chloride has been found effective for the treatment of blepharospasm. Another treatement is the administration of Botulin toxin (Botox) to induce localized, partial paralysis. Among most patients, botox is the preferred treatment method.

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