A MUM who can’t keep her eyes open due to a rare condition has had Botox to fix it.
Pauline Williams, from Settle, North Yorkshire, suffers from Meige syndrome – a neurological problem which causes muscles to forcibly contract.
Getty – Contributor A woman with a rare condition which causes her eyelids to shut involuntarily has had Botox in her eyelids to help her see
It means the 63-year-old’s eyes shut several times a day – and she’s unable to open them for hours at a time.
She was given custom-made glasses with special wire clamps for her eyelids but they didn’t help, so doctors suggested trying Botox.
The six-weekly course of injections dampen the muscle strength in her eyelids – allowing her to see normally.
I had to physically pull my eyelids open and hold them therePauline Williams
Mrs Williams told the Daily Mail: “They could shut at any point – some days I could hardly open them at all.
“There was no knowing when that would happen and it was like a paralysis – I had to physically pull my eyelids open and hold them there.”
Mrs Williams was advised by her GP to register as functionally blind and use a white stick.
What is blepharospam and how can it be treated with Botox?Blepharospasm is a medical condition that causes the muscles around your eyes to spasm involuntarily.
It is thought to arise because of loss of control of the normal blink reflex.
Frequent blinking or uncontrollable eye closure are common characteristics of blepharospasm.
In the most severe cases, a person may be unable to open their eyes for several minutes.
Some people find that their blepharospasm is worsened by certain things e.g. bright light, stress, social interactions etc.
If you have blepharospasm, the pattern of the spasm may change throughout the day.
For example, you may have few or no symptoms when you wake up in the morning, but they may start to appear or get worse when you are tired or stressed.
Botox (Botulinum toxin) injections help to relax muscles and are therefore used for blepharospasm to relax the muscles around the eyes.
This reduces the involuntary closure of the eyes and helps patients to keep their eyes open when they want.
Usually around three to six injections are given at different sites, taking around one to two minutes, and it may be a little painful.
It takes about three to five days before the injections take effect, and up to two weeks for the full effect to be seen.
You should then notice a reduction in the amount of spasm you have around the treated eye(s).
The effects of generally last for about three months but then start to wear off, so to maintain the effect, regular follow-up injections are needed.
But she was later diagnosed with a form of Meige syndrome known as blepharospasm, which is an involuntary tight closure of the eyelids affecting just 20 in every million people in the world.
She also has a linked condition called lid apraxia which makes it hard to reopen her eyes once they’ve closed.
Doctors gave her a pair of glasses with metal clamps to hook onto her eyelids to keep them open.
She said: “It was dreadful and so uncomfortable but I was desperate.”
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It took months of appointments before Professor Bernie Chang, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Optegra Eye Hospital Yorkshire, suggested giving Botox injections a go.
Within a few months of altering the dose, she began to make a recovery and she has now been able to return to work and drive again.
Mrs Williams will have to keep having Botox, as well as Parkinson’s drugs to control the eye spasms, for the rest of her life.
Google Street View Mrs Williams was treated at Optegra Eye Hospital Yorkshire, file image
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