Botulinum toxin in ophthalmology.
Since its introduction into clinical medicine in 1980, botulinum toxin has become a major therapeutic drug with applications valuable to many medical sub-specialties. Its use was spearheaded in ophthalmology where its potential applications have expanded to cover a broad range of visually related disorders. These include dystonic movement disorders, strabismus, nystagmus, headache syndromes such as migraine, lacrimal hypersecretion syndromes, eyelid retraction, spastic entropion, compressive optic neuropathy, and, more recently, periorbital aesthetic uses. Botulinum toxin is a potent neurotoxin that blocks the release of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction of cholinergic nerves. When used appropriately it will weaken the force of muscular contraction, or inhibit glandular secretion. Recovery occurs over 3 to 4 months from nerve terminal sprouting and regeneration of inactivated proteins necessary for degranualtion of acetylcholine vesicles. Complications are related to chemodenervation of adjacent muscle groups, injection technique, and immunological mechanisms.
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