Blepharospasm/Hemifacial Spasm
(Abnormal Blinking or Twitching of Face)

Blepharo means “eyelid” and spasm means “uncontrolled muscle contraction.” The term blepharospasm can be applied to any abnormal blinking or eyelid tic or twitch. Blepharospasm may involve one or all four eyelids.

Blepharospasm of one eyelid is often associated with fatigue or stress.

Blepharospasm affecting all four eyelids is thought to be due to abnormal functioning of the basal ganglia which are situated at the base of the brain. The basal ganglia play a role in all coordinated movement. We do not fully understand what goes wrong within the basal ganglia to cause this type of blepharospasm. In most people blepharospasm develops spontaneously with no known precipitating factor. The most frequently affected population are females between 40 and 60 years of age.

Blepharospasm can occur with other abnormal facial movements. In such cases, spasms of the eyelids are accompanied by jaw clenching or mouth opening, grimacing, and tongue protrusion.

Blepharospasm can be induced by drugs, such as those used to treat Parkinson’s disease.

Hemifacial spasm is involuntary twitching of the eyelids as well as facial muscles on one side of a person’s face.
Hemifacial spasm can be caused by injury to the facial nerve, a tumor, or it may have no apparent cause. The facial nerve controls the muscles of facial expression. Sometimes hemifacial spasm occurs following Bell’s palsy.
Oral medications, injections to the involved muscles (Botox, Xeomin, Myobloc and Dysport), tinted glasses and rarely surgery are some of the options available to control blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm.