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What does it mean if my eyes blink and shut uncontrollably?

This sounds like a condition called essential blepharospasm, in which patients have uncontrollable blinking, sometimes so severe that it is incapacitating. The cause is often unknown, but treatments exist.

First, have a thorough eye examination by a comprehensive ophthalmologist to rule out other causes such as keratitis or dry eyes. If none is found, ask for a referral to a neuroophthalmologist who does Botox treatments (not all do). Under some circumstances, an MRI is indicated. Once underlying neurologic disease is ruled out, then treatment can begin. Today, Botox injections to weaken the muscle contractions are the most effective treatment available. They do need to be repeated every few months. Unlike cosmetic Botox injections, these should be covered by insurance. Some oculoplastics specialists, neurologists, and comprehensive ophthalmologists offer these injections as well.

Whoever you approach to do the injections, if they are indicated, inquire about their experience with your condition. Surgical options are also available, but should be withheld for Botox failures. There are many Web sites and support groups available to help individuals understand and cope with blepharospasm.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.