Blepharo means "eyelid". Spasm means "uncontrolled muscle contraction".
The term blepharospasm ['blef-a-ro-spaz-m] can be applied to any abnormal
blinking or eyelid tic or twitch resulting from any cause.
Benign Essential Blepharospasm
The second major category of eyelid twitching is called Benign Essential
Blepharospasm. "Benign" indicates the condition is not life threatening,
and "essential" is a medical term meaning "of unknown cause".
This more serious condition involves involuntary contraction of the
muscles that encircle the eye called the orbicularis oculi muscles. It
results in the forced closure of both eyelids. These spasms occur
spontaneously, but they have also been associated with stress and bright
This condition usually involves both eyes, where the eyelids, and
sometimes the eyebrows, close involuntarily. In advanced cases of
essential blepharospasm, muscles of the mouth or neck are sometimes
involved. When these spasms occur, temporary inability to see may result
because of involuntary eyelid closure.
These spasms are rare but very troublesome, and often incapacitating.
Essential blepharospasm is thought to be caused by abnormal nerve impulses
in an area of the brain called the basal ganglia which results in muscle
Essential blepharospasm can be treated with medications, biofeedback,
injection of Botox and surgery. Medications and biofeedback are rarely
successful in managing essential blepharospasm, but may be advised in mild
cases or cases not responding to other treatment.
Botox injections are now the most commonly recommended treatment for
essential blepharospasm. Injection of Botox in very small quantities into
the muscles around the eyes will relax 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. On those rare occasions when side-effects do occur, they
include drooping of the eyelids, double vision or dryness of the eye, but
they all temporary and subside quickly. In severe cases of essential
blepharospasm your eye doctor may suggest surgery to remove either the
nerve causing the spasm or the spastic muscles themselves.
Related Eye Twitching Articles:
What Causes Eye Twitching? Part 3 Hemifacial Spasm
What Causes Eye Twitching? Part 1 Benign Eyelid Myokymia