Blepharospasm, hemifacial spasms, and Bell’s palsy are three disorders that affect the nerves and muscles of the face, particularly those surrounding the eye. While blepharospasm and hemifacial spasms cause uncontrolled twitches, Bell’s palsy induces severe muscle weakness. At SightMD, we offer complete care for these conditions. Although we always begin with conservative treatment, such as BOTOX® Medical injections, our doctors can also provide surgery to treat more severe cases. Thanks to our careful diagnosis, personalized treatment, and advanced technology, you can experience long-lasting, if not permanent, relief.
An Introduction to Blepharospasm, Hemifacial Spasms, and Bell’s Palsy
Blepharospasm is characterized by uncontrollable blinking and eyelid movement. While the condition does not threaten your ocular health, it can be very irritating. Although the exact cause is unknown, some experts believe it may be a genetic condition. Blepharospasm affects patients of all ages, although it more commonly impacts women between the ages of 45 and 60. The condition can often be exacerbated by stress, bright lights, and reading.
Hemifacial spasms cause involuntary twitching on one side of your face. These spasms usually start near your eye and eventually reach the mouth. Like blepharospasm, the condition is not painful and does not threaten your health, but it can cause discomfort and feelings of self-consciousness. The exact cause of this disorder is unknown, but is believed to be caused by facial injury, tumor, or a blood vessel coming into contact with a facial nerve.
Bell’s palsy is typically a temporary disorder that causes extreme muscle weakness and drooping on one side of your face. Your smile may appear crooked, and, in some cases, you may not be able to fully close your eye. Although the exact cause is unknown, many experts believe this condition stems from inflammation of the facial nerve, or a viral infection.
BOTOX® Medical and Dysport® are the most common and effective treatments for both blepharospasm and hemifacial spasms. By injecting small amounts of botulinum toxin into the affected area, your doctor can calm overactive muscles by blocking irregular nerve signals. The treatment typically takes effect within three days, and the results may last up to three months. You may undergo as many follow-up treatments as you need, although the desired effects may begin to subside after many years of treatment.
In some cases, eyelid surgery may be the best option for blepharospasm, although we will first attempt to treat your condition with more conservative solutions. By removing all or part of the eyelid muscle that is causing the eye to twitch, we can permanently alleviate symptoms.
Bell’s palsy typically goes away on its own, although certain medications can expedite your recovery. Steroids can reduce inflammation of the facial nerve, eliminating external pressure. If your condition is caused by an infection, antiviral medications can also enhance your healing. In rare cases, you may require surgery, such as:
- Brow lifting
- Ectropion repair
- Implanting a weight in the upper eyelid
Our surgeons are specially trained to treat these relatively rare ocular conditions, and they will work with you to select the right procedure to meet your needs.