Case History 2

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Female – onset of BEB 1997

While holidaying around Australia in our Caravan in 1997 I noticed that my eyes were blinking more often than usual and I could not tolerate the glare.

On returning home I visited my Ophthalmologist who said that – 1. It was just my age 2. The colour of my eyes and skin 3. That I would just have to wear dark glasses 4. That I would just have to learn to live with it.

So again we travelled in 1998 and as I had been used to doing my turn of driving towing the caravan I tried to continue in this vein. I realised that my eyes were closing uncontrollably at intervals beyond my control and found myself holding my eyes open.

Back to the Ophthalmologist who still couldn’t give me any other diagnosis so I tried to learn to live with it.

In 2000 I’d had enough and asked my GP for a referral to the Lions Eye Institute, as I figured someone from there should be able to give me a diagnosis. Lucky for me the first doctor I saw told me he knew what was wrong and I had a condition called Blepharospasm. He also said he would refer me to an Ophthalmologist who would treat it for me with Botox injections. Just knowing that this problem actually had a name and it wasn’t all my imagination was sheer relief.

I had my first shots of Botox in 2000 from an Ophthalmologist north of Perth. These were followed up roughly three months. Eventually I tried to find someone closer to home to get my treatment and by phoning Allergan, the WA Representative was able to give me a list of doctors licensed to treat people with Botox. I tried a Neurologist , but was not happy with his treatment and eventually went to my current Ophthalmologist, with whom I am very happy.

I receive 2.5 units per site 6 sites around each eye. It takes about a week to be effective but then the continual blinking is under control. This only lasts about 8 weeks and then seems to fade until the 12th week when you know you are well and truly ready for some more shots.

I’ve tried to have appointments every 8 weeks, but found it very demanding having to be close to home and unable to continue our travelling. So we experimented with having more Botox in each site to see if it would last longer. Unfortunately this caused my eyes to droop and were very dry all the time. So I went back to having just the 2.5 units and making it last the 12 weeks, even though I am unable to drive for the last 4 weeks prior to my shots.

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