NINDS Benign Essential Blepharospasm Information Page: NINDS


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Article title: NINDS Benign Essential Blepharospasm Information Page: NINDS
Conditions: Benign Essential Blepharospasm
What is Benign Essential Blepharospasm?
Benign essential blepharospasm (BEB) is a progressive neurological disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions and spasms of the eyelid muscles. It is a form of dystonia, a movement disorder in which sustained muscle contractions cause twitching and repetitive movements. BEB begins gradually with occasional eye blinking and/or irritation. Other symptoms may include involuntary winking or squinting of one or both eyes, increasing difficulty in keeping the eyes open, and light sensitivity. Generally, the spasms occur during the day, disappear in sleep, and reappear after waking. As the condition progresses, the spasms may intensify, forcing the eyelids to remain closed for long periods of time, and thereby causing substantial visual disturbance or functional blindness. It is important to note that the blindness is caused solely by the uncontrollable closing of the eyelids and not by a dysfunction of the eyes. BEB occurs in both men and women, although it is especially common in middle-aged and elderly women.

Is there any treatment?
In most cases of BEB the treatment of choice is botulinum toxin injections, which relax the muscles and stop the spasms. Other treatment options include medications (drug therapy) or surgery.

What is the prognosis?
With botulinum toxin treatment most individuals with BEB have substantial relief of symptoms. Although some may experience side effects such as drooping eyelids, blurred or double vision, and eye dryness, these side effects are usually only temporary.

What research is being done?
The NINDS supports a broad program of research on disorders of the nervous system, including BEB. Much of this research is aimed at increasing understanding of these disorders and finding ways to prevent, treat, and cure them.

 Organizations

Benign Essential Blepharospasm Research Foundation, Inc.
637 North 7th Street Suite 102
P.O. Box 12468
Beaumont, TX 77726-2468
bebrf@ih2000.net
http://www.blepharospasm.org/
Tel: 409-832-0788
Fax: 409-832-0890

Dystonia Medical Research Foundation
1 East Wacker Drive
Suite 2430
Chicago, IL 60601-1905
dystonia@dystonia-foundation.org
http://www.dystonia-foundation.org/
Tel: 312-755-0198
Fax: 312-803-0138

This fact sheet is in the public domain. You may copy it.Provided by:
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892



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