Blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm are both neurological conditions that involve involuntary muscle contractions in the face, specifically around the eyes and eyelids.
What is blepharospasm?
Blepharospasm is a condition characterized by repetitive, uncontrollable, and forceful closure of one or both eyelids. It can result in excessive blinking or even complete closure of the eyelids, making it difficult for the affected individual to keep their eyes open.
The exact cause of blepharospasm is not always clear, but it is believed to be related to abnormal brain signalling. In some cases, it may be associated with other underlying conditions or triggered by factors like stress or fatigue.
Symptoms of blepharospasm
The primary symptom is involuntary eyelid closure, often accompanied by increased blinking, eye irritation, and light sensitivity. These symptoms can significantly impair a person’s ability to see and perform daily activities.
What is hemifacial spasm?
Hemifacial spasm is a condition characterized by involuntary muscle contractions on one side of the face, typically affecting the muscles around the eye and mouth. It can start with twitching or spasms around the eye and then spread to involve other facial muscles on the same side.
What causes hemifacial?
The most common cause of hemifacial spasm is compression or irritation of the facial nerve, specifically the seventh cranial nerve. This compression is often due to a blood vessel pressing on the nerve, but it can also be associated with certain neurological conditions.
Symptoms of hemifacial
The primary symptom is repetitive, involuntary muscle contractions that can cause a visible twitching or spasming of the facial muscles on one side of the face. Over time, these contractions can become more frequent and severe, potentially leading to functional impairment and discomfort.
Both conditions can significantly affect an individual’s quality of life due to the discomfort and social impact of facial muscle spasms. Treatment options may include medications, botulinum toxin injections (Botox), or, in some cases, surgical procedures to relieve the compression of the facial nerve in the case of hemifacial spasm. It’s important for individuals experiencing these symptoms to consult with a healthcare professional from a reputable aesthetic clinic for proper evaluation and management.
Although both conditions involve involuntary muscle contractions in the face, the two conditions differ in several key ways such as:
Location of Muscle Contractions: In blepharospasm, the involuntary muscle contractions primarily affect the eyelids and muscles around the eyes. The spasms lead to forceful and repetitive closure of one or both eyelids whereas hemifacial spasm involves involuntary muscle contractions that occur on one side of the face, typically starting around the eye and then spreading to other facial muscles on the same side. It affects a broader area of the face compared to blepharospasm.
Blepharospasm can affect one or both eyes, resulting in the closure of one or both eyelids while hemifacial spasm occurs unilaterally, meaning it affects only one side of the face. The contractions are limited to the muscles on that side.
Treatment for blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm
Treatment options for blepharospasm may include medications, botulinum toxin injections (Botox) to temporarily paralyze the affected muscles, and in some cases, surgical procedures to relieve symptoms.
While the primary treatment for hemifacial spasm is often surgical, where the offending blood vessel compressing the facial nerve is decompressed or moved. Botulinum toxin injections can also provide temporary relief.
Botulinum toxin is a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. When used in medical and cosmetic procedures, it is highly purified and administered in controlled doses to achieve therapeutic or cosmetic effects.
What happens during a Botox injection?
A small amount of the toxin is injected directly into the targeted muscles using a fine needle. The effects of the treatment are not immediate but usually become noticeable within a few days and reach their peak in a week or two.