At times, we all shut our eyelids hard and then release them. For instance, when cold air is blowing into the eyes, tears are produced naturally and, to wipe them away, you close and reopen your eyes. If you are reading in insufficient light and you find your sight is blurred, you tend to do the same. These are voluntary acts. But in blepharospasm, the eyes-close and open repeatedly, often several times a day, without the person intending it. This condition is more common in elderly people, and sometimes the facial Muscles contract at the same time.
Very often these involuntary spasms start with voluntary ones, which then become a habit. Possible causes include excessive production of tears, inflammation of the follicles of the eyelashes, conjunctivitis and even emotional problems. The condition should always be checked out with a doctor as early as possible. However, in your wife’s case, I am afraid it is a case of having to work hard to eliminate the problem. Like all involuntary problems, such as hiccups, tics, tremors and facial spasms, it has to be treated with great care.
Botulirium toxin (Botox) is a derivative of botulin, a food poison, which has been used medically for more than 20 years. It, works by paralyzing muscles. Although it is said, to be completely safe, in my view (and this is beginning; to be supported by research), having frequent injections may lead to more problems – so it should be the last, resort.
As with many neurological conditions, keeping up your general energy and wellbeing is very important.
I suggest that anyone with this distressing, condition try following:
- Avoid late nights; go to bed by 10pm, If possible.
- Avoid coffee, excess alcohol, excess salt, foods containing yeast, citrus fruits spicy fatty or fried foods, sugar and chocolate.
- Take a good multivitamin/mineral daily for three months. I recommend One a Day multivitamin and mineral tablets.
- To help relaxation and improve quality of sleep, take Biorelax (capsules): one a day at bedtime.
- Massage the neck and shoulders for ten three times a week, this will improve blood flow to the brain centres that generate the electrical impulses which cause the blepharospasm and help them to function better. Also get a friend or therapist to massage the spine.
- Do some simple acupressure on the following three pairs of points: (l) the sore spots at the inner ends of the eyebrows; (2) the middle of the eyebrows; (3) the centre of the bone below each eye. Press and rotate your thumbs or forefingers on the points for one to two minutes in the morning and evening.
- Just as you can stop hiccups and facial twitches by holding your breath, it is possible to stop the blepharospasm with the following breathing exercise. (You need to practise to get it perfect.) Take a deep breath in through your nose, then hold it for 20 seconds – or as long as you can- by pinching the nostrils, Just as you think you are running out of breath, exhale slowly.
Inhale a small amount of air and hold your breath again. Try to hold your breath as long as you can and to take shallow breaths. This will build up the carbon dioxide level in the blood. When that happens; the body’s defensive mechanisms dilate blood vessels, thus releasing spasms in the muscles. Practise this three to four times a day for a few moments so that you don’t feel anxious when holding the breath. Then, when you get the spasms; do this exercise.
- Put one drop of pure rose-water in each eye at bedtime for ten days, to ensure that there is no irritation in the eye or the eyelids.
- When a spasm starts, rub your palms for 30 seconds until they feel warm, and then lay them on your eyes to ease the problem.