Benign Essential Blepharospasm

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What is benign essential blepharospasm? 

Benign Essential Blepharospasm (BEB) is a neurological disorder that causes spasms, or twitching, of the eyelid. It is a form of dystonia, a movement disorder in which muscle contractions cause twitching or repetitive movements. These spasms and muscle contractions happen outside of a person's control. The symptoms of BEB are: 

  • Blinking more often
  • Eye irritation
  • Having a hard time keeping eyelids open, sometimes closed for long periods of time, which causes substantial visual disturbance or functional blindness 
  • Sensitivity to light

The spasms usually happen during the day and disappear when sleeping at night. BEB can affect men and women but is more common in middle-aged and older women. BEB is a progressive disease, meaning that it can slowly get worse with time. BEB is usually treated with botulinum toxin shots, known as Botox, or with medicine or surgery.  

Learn About Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are studies that allow us to learn more about disorders and improve care. They can help connect patients with new and upcoming treatment options.

How can I or my loved one help improve care for people with benign essential blepharospasm?

Consider participating in a clinical trial so clinicians and scientists can learn more about BEB. Clinical research uses human volunteers to help researchers learn more about a disorder and perhaps find better ways to safely detect, treat, or prevent disease.

All types of volunteers are needed—those who are healthy or may have an illness or disease—of all different ages, sexes, races, and ethnicities to ensure that study results apply to as many people as possible, and that treatments will be safe and effective for everyone who will use them.

For information about participating in clinical research visit NIH Clinical Research Trials and You. Learn about clinical trials currently looking for people with BEB at, a database of current and past clinical studies and research results.  

Where can I find more information about benign essential blepharospasm? 

Additional information is available from the following resources:

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center  


Order publications from the NINDS Catalog
The NINDS Publication Catalog offers printed materials on neurological disorders for patients, health professionals, and the general public. All materials are free of charge, and a downloadable PDF version is also available for most publications.