A blepharospasm is any abnormal tic or twitch of the eyelid. Symptoms sometimes last for a few days then disappear without treatment, but in many cases the twitching is chronic and persistent. Lifelong challenges can include the ability to work or drive a car. This can also result in a diagnosis of Functional Blindness. The patient’s eyelids feel like they are clamping shut and will not open without great effort. Patients have otherwise “healthy” eyes, but for periods of time are effectively blind due to their inability to open their eyelids.
Although strides have recently been made in early diagnosis, blepharospasm is often initially misdiagnosed as allergies or “dry eye syndrome”. It is a fairly rare disease, affecting only one in every 20,000 people in the United States.