Blepharospasm? How Botox™ can help

Written by: Mr Allaaeldin Abumattar
Edited by: Sarah Sherlock

Many things may cause our eyes to twitch or blink without our control, one being a condition called blepharospasm. In this article, highly experienced consultant ophthalmic surgeon Mr Allaaeldin Ambumattar provides more information about blepharospasm, how it’s treated, and how Botox™ may help.




What is blepharospasm?

Blepharospasm is uncontrolled forceful blinking due to involuntary eyelid muscle contraction that causes the lids to twitch, flutter, or blink uncontrollably. Blepharospasm is officially called benign essential blepharospasm (BEB). “Benign” indicates the condition is not life-threatening, and “essential” is a medical term meaning “of unknown cause". Blepharospasm usually starts with small eyelid twitches that happen every once in a while. Over time, the blinking may become more frequent and more forceful causing the eyes to close completely making every day-to-day activities harder to do like reading, watching TV, or driving.



Can blepharospasm go away on its own?

Eyelid twitches usually goes away on its own. Having eyelid twitching for a short period of time doesn’t necessarily mean you have blepharospasm. Lots of different things can cause the eyelid to twitch and some lifestyle changes like managing your stress, getting enough sleep, and cutting down on food or drinks with caffeine may help. Other self-help measures like wearing dark glasses can reduce bright light triggers and make the condition less obvious to others. Wrap-around glasses are most protective. Voluntary manoeuvres, such as pulling on or touching the eyelid, pinching the neck, talking, yawning, humming, or singing can be helpful.



How can Botox help?

Blepharospasm happens when the part of the brain that controls the eyelid muscles stops working correctly and sends excessive signals to the eyelid muscles. Botulinum toxin is an approved treatment for blepharospasm and works by blocking these signals and stop muscles twitching. 90 percent of patients treated with Botox™ obtain almost complete relief of their blepharospasm.



How long does it take for Botox to work for blepharospasm?

Small injections of botulinum toxin are used just under the skin. The injections usually take 2 to 3 days to start working, but may range from 1 to 14 days after the injection. As the effect is temporary and usually last for up to 3 months, the injections usually have to be repeated to control the excessive muscle contractions. Most people need to get further injections every 3 to 4 months



What are the side effects or risks of Botox?

Long-term follow-up studies have shown Botox™ to be a very safe and effective treatment. Side effects include, but are not limited to, drooping of the eyelid (ptosis), blurred vision, and double vision (diplopia). Tearing may occur. All are usually transient and recover spontaneously. Repeated treatments remain effective over a long period of time.



If Botox doesn´t work, what are the other treatment options?

Where vision is seriously impaired by severe eye closure, and in the event Botox™ injections fail, surgery like myectomy can be used to treat blepharospasm. In a myectomy, a surgeon will remove some of the muscle or nerve tissue from your eyelids to help stop the twitching.



If you are experiencing irregular eye twitching or blinking or would like more information, you can book a consultation at Mr Abumattar's profile.

By Mr Allaaeldin Abumattar

Mr Allaaeldin Abumattar is an exceptionally well-regarded and highly experienced consultant ophthalmic surgeon who specialises in cataract surgeryage-related macular degeneration (AMD)diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusions as well as glaucoma.  Mr Abumattar moved to Swindon in January 2017, where he is currently the age-related macular degeneration (AMD) clinical lead, and is the ophthalmology clinical tutor for university medical school students. 

Mr Abumattar possesses an extensive amount of experience in relation to the management of eyelid conditions and disorders, such as lower lid and upper lid malposition surgerytherapeutic botulinum toxin injection as an effective treatment option for facial dystonia and thyroid eye disease. Impressively, Mr Abumattar developed and provided a structured approach to both the data collection and decision-making in relation to the overall management of thyroid eye disease, which, in 2014, was presented to The British Oculoplastic Surgery Society. 

Following his graduation in 1994; obtaining a degree in medicine from the established Al Fetah University; Mr Abumattar undertook his training in ophthalmology at both the El Nasir Ophthalmic Hospital and the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital. He then moved to the UK in 2001, immediately undertaking training posts at the Ayrshire and Arran Acute Hospitals Trust. Following this, he began at a post at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital, where he was awarded with the SAS (Staff grade and Associate Specialists) Clinical Discretionary Award in 2006. 

Throughout his career, Mr Abumattar has developed quite the interest in the incorporation of standard and premium implant for cataract surgery and also for effectively correcting astigmatism. He has taught and trained many in the area of ophthalmology to-date, and has engaged himself in clinical trials. He also won the Best Presentation Prize in the SAS Regional Academic Study Day, 2013, for his tips on delivering virtually painless ocular injections in the management of age-related macular degeneration study on "Pain Scores Following Intravitreal Injections." In addition, Mr Abumattar most notably held an honorary fellowship post at Moorfields Eye Hospital in 2013. 

Moreover, Mr Abumattar achieved responsibilities as Trust Appraiser, the Director of the Buckinghamshire Postgraduate Ophthalmology Teaching Programme, Member of the Joint Consultation and Negotiating Committee (JCNC) for doctors and dentists in Oxfordshire Deanery, representative in the Royal College of Ophthalmologists SAS group, and SAS representative in Royal College revalidation sub-committee. He was also awarded a Local Clinical Excellence Award in 2021 in recognition for his service to the NHS. 

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