Botox®, a natural, purified protein is produced by the clostridium botulinum bacterium. Discovered by an ophthalmologist in the early 1970s, Botox® has been used to correct medical conditions, such as crossed eyes and twitching facial muscles.
Botox® is a simple, nonsurgical procedure. Very small quantities are injected into muscles. The Botox® blocks the transmission of nerve impulses to the injected area, temporarily relaxing the muscle.
Botox® can be used for many purposes, but in our practice, it is mainly used for the treatment of blepharospasm, hemifacial spasms, strabismus and glabellar lines.
- Blepharospasm is a localized movement disorder that affects the muscles that control eyelid movement. The disorder is characterized by increased blinking caused by involuntary spasms of muscles controlling the eyelid.
- Hemifacial spasm is a movement disorder produced by a peripheral nerve, causing intermittent twitching of muscles.
- Strabismus is characterized by a deviation in alignment of one eye from the other. In adults, it can occur gradually or rapidly. The most common form of strabismus causes one eye to turn toward the nose. It may also cause the eye to turn away from the nose or up or down.
- Glabellar lines are the wrinkles between the brows caused by the contraction of muscles.
Most patients describe the actual injections as feeling like a little bee sting. A local anesthetic cream can be administered a short time prior to the injections to help minimize discomfort. The injections only take a few minutes and once completed, there will be a slight redness at each injection site for a brief period of time. Most patients leave the office and resume their full activities.
Botox® injections do not take effect immediately. The process moves slowly and is slightly different for each individual. You may begin to notice a change as early as three days, but for most patients, it usually occurs somewhere between 7–10 days following the injection. Patients usually see the maximum effect by the 14th day.
As gradually as the Botox® takes effect, it will just as gradually disappear. Most patients notice the effect lasting from three to five months. Some patients plan repeat injections before the entire effect has worn off, so as not to let the muscles tighten again causing either the twitching lid or the facial line to reappear.
Anyone who has a medical condition that could benefit from the injection or anyone who is concerned about the appearance of facial fine lines or wrinkles can consider a Botox® injection. Botox® can be administered to anyone, male or female, from age 18 to 65. Your Eye Care physician can help you decide if Botox® is right for you.