Blepharospasm causes the eyelids to close and squeeze involuntarily. Primarily women ages 40-60 suffer from this disorder and are afflicted two to four times as often as men. Early signs of Blepharospasm start in one eye and move gradually to both, with increased blinking caused by sensitivity to wind, sun, noise, head and eye movements and stress. Common symptoms include increased rate of blinking, dry eye, eyelid and brow spasms, eye pain, headaches and eye tics; more severe symptoms cause difficulty opening the eyes, disabling eye pain and functional blindness. Other conditions such as ptosis, dermatochalasis and entropion can occur with Blepharospasm.
Hemifacial spasm causes muscle shaking and spasms in one side of the face, starting with the eyelid and then to the cheek and mouth. The spasms start intermittently, but increase to become almost continuous. Although painless, the disorder looks like a seizure and can be embarrassing.
The most effective treatment for the majority of people is Botox treatments, which relax the muscles causing the twitches. Botox treatments generally last three to four months, and have been successfully used long-term when given by a skilled oculoplastic physician. An oculoplastic surgeon has specialized training to treat the eye spasm as well as the drooping eyelids that may follow the treatment.