Blepharospasm: Causes and Treatment
Blepharospasm is rare and happens when the part of the brain that controls your eyelid muscles stops working correctly.
It is unlike common mild eyelid twitching, which usually goes away on its own and can be caused by stress, dry eye, too much caffeine, and lack of sleep.
Factors that may increase likelihood to develop it include:
- Family history
- Age (40 to 60)
While there is no cure for blepharospasm, there are treatments that can help with your symptoms, including:
- Muscle relaxant (toxin) injections – the most common treatment is muscle relaxant injections to your eyelid muscles, usually every 3 to 4 months
- Myectomy surgery – remove some of the muscle or nerve tissue from your eyelids to help stop the twitching
- Lifestyle changes – managing your emotional stress, getting enough sleep, and cutting down on food or drinks with caffeine (like coffee, tea, or soda)
Hemifacial Spasm: Causes and Treatment
The most common cause of hemifacial spasm is compression of the facial nerve by an artery in the brain. There are other rarer causes of hemifacial spasm such as infections, strokes or tumours. However, sometimes there is no obvious cause (idiopathic hemifacial spasm).
Anyone can be affected, although women tend to be affected slightly more often than men and symptoms usually start in middle age.
Hemifacial spasm is unlikely to improve without treatment and although there is no certain cure, several treatments are available.
- Muscle relaxant (toxin) injections – currently the most commonly used treatment, the toxin disrupts nerve messages to muscles and causes paralysis, stopping the spasms.
- Medications – may be helpful when the spasms are mild or infrequent. Anti-epileptic and/or sedative medicines may be considered to help quieten nerve impulses and relax muscle spasms. Medication would likely need to be taken on a long-term basis.
- Microvascular decompression surgery – relieve the compression caused by the blood vessel on the facial nerve, usually reserved for cases where the spasms are severe and disabling, and when other treatments have failed.