Dr. S. Kraft


There are several disorders that cause excessive blinking or severe spasms (marked tightening) of the eyelids.  Patients with these disorders find it difficult to keep their eyes open.  Both the reflex and voluntary movements of the eyelids are usually involved.  Two of the most severe disorders that lead to eyelid spasms are benign essential blepharospasm (BEB) and hemifacial spasm (HFS).


Patients with blepharospasm show repetitive spasms of the eyelids of both eyes (see photos of a patient).  Muscles around the mouth or in the neck can also go into spasm.  It is a disease that usually develops in persons over the age of 50, and it can get worse over the years.  It is thought that this disease is caused by chemical imbalances in the areas of the brain that control the movement of the muscles of the face. 


Patients with blepharospasm are usually diagnosed with the condition by an ophthalmologist or a neurologist.  They frequently present to an eye doctor because they often have symptoms of dry eyes. When the usual treatments with dry eye medications do not work to stop the blinking, the diagnosis may, in fact, be essential blepharospasm.  The presence of uncontrolled facial spasms can also lead to referral to a neurologist, who must differentiate the eyelid spasms of benign essential blepharospasm from those seen with other less common conditions. 


Treatment is directed to reducing the excessive activity of the eyelid muscles.  Treatment options include oral medications, surgery to remove the overacting muscles, or injections of botulinum toxin (marketed as BotoxTM, XeominTM, or DysportTM) into the overacting muscles. (see Information on Botulinum for Blepharospasm)




They show a patient with benign essential blepharospasm before and after treatment with botulinum toxin.





The Benign Essential Blepharospasm Canadian Research Foundation (BEBCRF) is happy to welcome new members.  They organize semi-annual meetings for members and send out periodic information updates on blepharospasm.


To contact the Foundation:

Benign Essential Blepharospasm Canadian Research Foundation Inc.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Phone: (416) 614-2322
Toll Free Phone: (1-866) 890-2473
Website and email: