Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hey! What on earth is wrong with your eyes?

Blepharospasm. This is a form of dystonia, a neurological movement disorder causing muscles to involuntarily spasm or contract. In some forms of dystonia, these contractions may result in twisting, repetitive movements and abnormal bodily postures.

The first symptoms of blepharospasm may be constant blinking, uncontrollable squinting, eyelids twitching and spasming, or experiencing great difficulty in keeping your eyelids open. Blepharospasm is described as a focal dystonia affecting the muscles associated with our eyes.

Focal dystonia refers to symptoms affecting a single body area. In the case of blepharospasm, it is usually present in both eyes. Initially, the spasms may begin in response to bright light, fatigue or emotional stress. Occasionally, spasms may progress to a stage where the eyelids close tightly for hours at a time. During these times vision impairment is due solely to the muscular spasms causing the eyelids to remain closed.

Eyesight, cognitive function, strength, and all senses are normal. Blepharospasm, like other forms of dystonia, is thought to result from abnormal functioning of deep brain structures known as the basal ganglia which are involved in controlling our movements.

Symptoms of blepharospasm respond well in most people when treated with botulinum toxin injections, commonly referred to as botox.

To learn more about this form of dystonia, follow the highlighted links above. If you would like to leave a message, please click on the ‘comment’ link below. Alternatively, email me at s.j.bayliss@bigpond.com.au and I will get back to you. I have been away this week and have many emails to respond to. I will reply to all by this coming weekend. It is lovely to hear from so many people. Thank you.

Sue Bayliss. Cairns, Australia.

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