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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3343
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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I have a question about eye blinking tics. I am a

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I have a question about eye blinking tics. I am a 37-year-old woman and over the last two years I have started suffering from frequent eye blinking tics and I was wondering if it is possible for adults to suddenly develop tourettes or any other eye tic disease like this? I have suffered from anxiety in the past and wonder if this could possibly be from that, or maybe I'm lacking a specific supplement/vitamin in my diet? I've tried all kinds of products to help alleviate the symptoms( calming teas, artificial tears, magnesium supplements, hypnosis CD's) to no avail. I'm now at the point of keeping myself at home for fear of embarrassment.
Could you shed some light on this subject for me? The internet research I do can be very confusing and scary.
Thank you!
Doctor DanB :

Hello and thanks for your question.

What you are experiencing sounds like what is called blepharospasm. This is usually associated, at its onset, as an increased rate of blinking. Many different things can cause this blinking such as irritations to the eye such as wind, smog, dust, and sunlight, but even some noises and moving the eyes and/or head can bring it on. They tend to turn into more of a spasm over time that the person usually doesn’t have much control over.

It can commonly be associated with eye problems including eye pain, tearing, irritation and sensitivity to light. Many people find sleep relieves their spasming to some extent, but also using artificial tears can help sometimes as well as pulling on the eyelids.

A specific cause for blepharospasm has not been demonstrated; it is thought to be a neurologic disorder that has a multifactorial etiology. In some families who have a familial type of neurologic muscular disorder such as this, blepharospasm can be a manifestation of that, but a strong family history is usually evident.

If it is just an eyelid twitch that you are experiencing, then this is not blepharospasm, but called eyelid myokymia and is not something that is expected to progress. If the entire side of the face is involved, then this is called hemifacial spasm and not just blepharospasm and you may need an MRI of the brain if that is the case to rule out any intracranial pathology.

Thankfully, many patients respond very well to Botox treatment. While the administration of the treatment can be a little bit irritating and/or painful, it is generally a well-tolerated procedure and is very helpful at eliminating the symptoms for up to 3 months at a time. There are other less conventional treatment methods such as acupuncture and/or hypnosis which some people swear by, but these don’t have the track record that Botox does. For the most part, however, there are no nutritional or other treatment methods which have shown any amount of reliable efficacy to treat this.

Does this information help you at all? What further questions do you have?

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