Benign Essential Blepharospasm Canadian Research Foundation Inc.


The BEB Canadian Research Foundation (BEBCRF) provides solace and information to those afflicted by BEB, Meige and Hemifacial Spasm by fostering the foundation and maintenance of Support Groups throughout Canada. We promote public awareness and raise monies for research that will enable the finding of a cure for these debilitating diseases.


Support, for this site, for patient group meetings thoughout Canada, and for research and education, is provided by the generosity of patients coping with Benign Essential Blepharospasm, Meige and Hemifacial Spasm, other patrons, Allergan Canada and Merz Pharma Canada.


If you would like to donate to our Foundation, please go to our Contact Information.


What is Benign Essential Blepharospasm?


The term blepharospasm ['blef-a-ro-spaz-m] can be applied to a forced, sustained, and involuntary closure of the eyelids. It stems from a number of causes, beginning with dry eyes, and, may progress to a state where the person is "legally blind". The blepharospasm referred to here is officially called Benign Essential Blepharospasm (BEB). "Benign" indicates the condition is not life threatening, and "essential" is a medical term meaning "of unknown cause".


What is Meige?


Meige syndrome is a rare neurological movement disorder characterized by involuntary and often forceful contractions of the muscles of the jaw and tongue (oromandibular dystonia) and involuntary muscle spasms and contractions of the muscles around the eyes (blepharospasm). The specific symptoms and their severity vary from case to case.


What is Hemifacial Spasm?


Hemifacial spasm is a benign, uncontrollable twitching of the muscles on one half (hemi-facial) of the face. It is a unilateral facial squeezing disorder unrelated to Essential Blepharospasm. Hemifacial spasms affect only those muscles innervated by the facial nerve. It usually begins around the eye with periodic twitching and spasms of the eyelids that close the eye partially or completely. It slowly spreads to involve other facial muscles on the same side as well as the superficial muscles of the neck.


The Impact of the Diseases


The psychological impact of these diseases can be tremendous. Patients often feel their physicians do not believe their symptoms are uncontrolled and, therefore, may see several physicians before the proper diagnosis is made. They are greatly relieved when they are finally told they have a real disease and that some treatment is available. It is extremely important for patients to understand their disease process. Patients generally learn their own coping techniques which are often shared with others at Support Group Meetings.


Cure?


At present there is no cure for these diseases. Systemic medications help some patients but most patients respond to periodic injections of botulinum toxin. Botulinum toxin Type A has made a difference in the lives of a majority of patients in relieving their facial spasms with a very low incidence of side effects. Botulinum toxin is also an effective option for the treating of hemifacial spasm. Neurosurgery is also an option for eliminating hemifacial spasm. However, without treatment the debilitating spasms continue and, in the case of BEB, render the patient "functionally blind".





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