Excessive eye blinking, known as blepharospasm, is an involuntary movement disorder where the amount of blinking causes distress and/or interferes with usual activities. Stressors such as bright lights, emotional tension and fatigue can provoke the start of excessive eye blinking during the day. It stops at nighttime and some sufferers report a lull in blinking after a good night's sleep or when concentrating on a certain task. The condition can progress to a stage where the eyelids remain forcefully closed, rendering the sufferer temporarily blind. As of June 2014, there is no cure available but there are some treatments that may help ease the condition.
Attend a course of stress management with an occupational therapist. You will meet other sufferers and can share your coping mechanisms. If your blepharospasm is caused by emotional tension, learning how to cope with stress may ease your symptoms.
Wear dark glasses. Some people with blepharospasm find their symptoms worsen when in bright sunlight, so keep your eyes shaded. Dark glasses also hide your eyes from inquisitive onlookers, which can bring on stress and exacerbate symptoms.
Build a support network. Sufferers have a fear of sustained attacks and feel safer staying amongst familiar surroundings, putting them at risk of social isolation.
Undergo a cycle of botulinum toxin, brand name Botox, injections. This can weaken or relax the muscles involved in excessive blinking without interfering with normal eye closure. Treatment is only once every three months.
Engage in medical therapy if the injected Botox doesn't help. There are a variety of medicines available but their success is uncertain, so medical therapy is a trial-and-error route. In addition, what works for one person may not work for another.
Have surgery to remove some or all of the muscles responsible for eye closure. Called protractor myectomy, this type of surgery is the most effective surgical treatment for blepharospasm.
Patients with blepharospasm have normal eyes; it is only the excessive blinking that causes disruption to your sight.
If you suspect you have the beginning symptoms of blepharospasm, consult your physician immediately.