advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Botox for Blepharospasm the Blinking Disorder?

I have been diagnosed with blepharospasm. Local doctors say the only thing available that may or may not help is Botox injections to deaden the nerves. Is there a supplement I could try instead?

A
Answer (Published 3/27/2009)

Blepharospasm is abnormal, involuntary blinking due to a glitch in an area of the brain known as the basal ganglia, which is responsible for controlling tone and movement of muscles, including some facial muscles. In most cases, the blinking comes on gradually and may be attributed at first to eye irritation, exposure to bright lights, emotional tension, or fatigue. Symptoms tend to worsen when you're under stress, so consider learning stress management techniques. Wearing dark glasses can cut down on light that may bother your eyes (and shield you from stares or uncomfortable questions). You may find that the blinking stops or slows when you're concentrating. It typically stops completely when you're asleep and may not resume for a few hours after you wake up. Over time, the condition tends to worsen; and the eyelids may remain closed for hours at a time.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging - Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet! - Everything you need to get started eating a healthful, satisfying diet is here - including eating and shopping guides, over 300 recipes, and an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid! Start your 14-day free trial now - and start eating anti-inflammatory today!

I know of no supplements that can help treat blepharospasm. This is one condition for which Botox is appropriate. It relaxes the muscles, stops the spasms and brings almost complete relief in up to 90 percent of patients. You should notice an improvement in one to 14 days. Symptom relief lasts for three to four months, after which you'll have to have another round of shots. Side effects, which are temporary, include drooping of the eyelids, blurred vision, and double vision and, perhaps some tearing. If the dose is kept small and the injections repeated at a minimum of three-month intervals, Botox treatment should give you long-term relief.

Few alternatives have been as well studied as Botox, and so far it has proven itself to be superior to other treatments. Although oral medications are available to treat blepharospasm, none work as reliably as Botox, and there's limited information on their effectiveness.

A surgical procedure called myectomy may be recommended to those few patients who don't respond to Botox. Surgeons remove some of the muscles and nerves in the eyelids. Myectomy works well in 75 to 85 percent of patients treated.

Botox injections may sound a bit scary, but if your condition is progressing, I suggest you to put aside your reservations and consider treatment. Chances are you'll be very glad you did.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here