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Blepharospasm

Blepharospasm is an involuntary contraction of the eyelid, causing twitching and sometimes the eyelid to close.

What is blepharospasm?

Blepharospasm is rare and is the involuntary spasm and contraction of the muscles around the eye.  It can be intermittent with good days and bad days. It is categorised as a movement disorder and is termed a focal dystonia.

What are the symptoms of blepharospasm?

The symptoms of blepharospasm included involuntary winking and abnormal blinking of the eyelids. It may be associated with:

  • Eye irritation
  • Light sensitivity
  • Itching of the eyelids

What causes blepharospasm?

The condition is caused by abnormal signals in the part of the brain that controls movement. The signals that are released from this part of the brain or the basal ganglia cause the eyelids to twitch.  It may be associated with people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease, Myasthenia Gravis and Meige’s syndrome which also affect movement. Some medications can cause a similar condition.

How is blepharospasm diagnosed?

The condition is diagnosed clinically. Your ophthalmologist will assess your eyes and eyelids in order to make their assessment.  In cases that are unclear electrodiagnostic tests may be performed to confirm if the condition is present.

How is blepharospasm treated?

The mainstay of treatment is removing any irritants to the eyelids and treating any blepharitis that may be present following by regular botulinum toxin injections to the eyelids to reduce the twitching. There is no successful cure for blepharospasm at the present time. Rarely surgery with a myectomy is performed to remove the twitching muscle but with botulinum toxin now available this is less frequently performed.

If you’re unsure what treatment you should go for, or the above treatments don’t work for you, our team of expert specialists are here to help.

This content has been checked and approved by

Mr Ahmad Aziz  ›

Mr Ahmad Aziz is a full time consultant ophthalmologist specialising in cataract and oculoplastics at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Find your specialist in blepharospasm at King Edward VII's Hospital

If you suspect you have blepharospasm and you’re seeking an expert opinion, you can find the UK’s leading specialists here at King Edward VII’s Hospital. Our consultants are hand-picked for you, making it easy to access the best possible care.

Mr Ahmad Aziz  ›
Special interests include:
Ophthalmology (+ 12) more
Mr Daniel Ezra  ›
Special interests include:
Blepharoplasty (+ 4) more
Professor Richard Collin  ›
Special interests include:
Eyelid surgery (+ 8) more

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