What causes benign essential blepharospasm (BEB)?

Updated: May 20, 2019
  • Author: Robert H Graham, MD; Chief Editor: Edsel Ing, MD, MPH, FRCSC  more...
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A specific etiology for blepharospasm has yet to be identified. Some patients with blepharospasm report a familial occurrence of the affliction. In families with autosomal dominant familial dystonia, affected members may have a generalized or segmental dystonia, while other members have various focal dystonias, such as isolated blepharospasm.

A study by DeFazio et al examined the first-degree relatives of 122 patients with primary blepharospasm. The study investigated genetic and environmental connections regarding the disorder and found no major difference between familial and sporadic cases with regard to coffee drinking and existing eye diseases. These findings suggest that sporadic and familial blepharospasm most likely has a commonality in etiologic background and influences of environmental factors. [28]

Wabbels has reported a single case of congenital blepharospasm. [29]

Zhou et al used functional MRI (fMRI) to identify abnormal neurological pathways in 9 patients with benign essential blepharospasm compared with controls. [30]

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