Blepharospasm is a type of focal dystonia that causes involuntary contraction of the eyelids. Someone who suffers from Blepharospasm has spasms that cause them to hold their eyes open or closed for indefinite periods of time. It is caused by abnormal functioning of basal ganglia, which are located at the bottom of the brain. Just like other forms of dystonia, it is sometimes associated with schizophrenia, but can also occur independently of it.

According to www.blepharospasm.org, blepharospasm shouldn't be confused with:
  • Ptosis - which is a drooping of the eyelids caused by weakness or paralysis of a muscle in the upper eyelid.
  • Blepharitis - which is an an inflammatory condition that occurs in the eyelids due to allergies.

Botulinum toxin (Botox)is an approved treatment for blepharospasm in the United States and Canada. Other drugs may be used if the Botox doesn't work, such as Artane (trihexyphenidyl), Cogentin (benztropine), Valium (diazepam), Klonapin (clonazepam), Lioresal (baclofen), Tegretol (carbamazepine), Sinemet or Modopar (levodopa), Parlodel (bromocriptime), and Symmetrel (amantadine).

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