Do you ever have that thing where the corner of your eye twitches? NYU Ophthalmologist, Dr. Joel S. Schuman tells us why your eyes are doing this, and what you can do to get them to stop.
Blepharospasm is a neurological condition characterized by forcible closure of the eyelids. The purpose of the Benign Essential Blepharospasm Research Foundation (BEBRF) is to undertake, promote, develop and carry on the search for the cause and a cure for benign essential blepharospasm and other related disorders and infirmities of the facial musculature. A useful description of the organization, it’s role and structure, can be found in the BEBRF tab on the top navigation bar and in the brochure known as the blue book, available here
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, ranging from dry eyes to Tourette’s syndrome to tardive dyskinesia. The blepharospasm referred to here is officially called benign essential blepharospasm (BEB) to distinguish it from the less serious secondary blinking disorders. “Benign” indicates the condition is not life threatening and “essential” is a medical term meaning “of unknown cause”. Patients with blepharospasm have normal eyes. The visual disturbance is due solely to the forced closure of the eyelids.
Blepharospasm should not be confused with:
Ptosis – drooping of the eyelids caused by weakness or paralysis of a levator muscle of the upper eyelid
Blepharitis – an inflammatory condition of the lids due to infection or allergies
Hemifacial spasm – a non-dystonic condition involving various muscles on one side of the face, often including the eyelid, and caused by irritation of the facial nerve. The muscle contractions are more rapid and transient than those of blepharospasm, and the condition is always confined to one side