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. 2004 Feb;34(1):3-15.
doi: 10.1016/j.neucli.2004.01.002.

Eyelid Movements in Health and Disease. The Supranuclear Impairment of the Palpebral Motility


Eyelid Movements in Health and Disease. The Supranuclear Impairment of the Palpebral Motility

Angel Esteban et al. Neurophysiol Clin. .


The eyelid movements are mediated mainly by the orbicularis oculi (OO) and the levator palpebrae superioris (LPS) muscles. Dissociated upper lid functions exhibit different counterbalanced action of these muscles, and in blinking they show a strictly reciprocal innervation. The disturbance of this close LPS-OO relationship likely leads to many of the central lid movement disorders. Three groups of supranuclear motor impairment of lid movements are considered: the disorders of the lid-eye movements' coordination, the disturbances of blinking and lid "postural" maintenance, and the alteration of voluntary lid movements. Nuclei of the posterior commissure control the inhibitory modulation of LPS motor-neuronal activity and they are involved in the lid-eye coordination disorders such as lid retraction, which is observed in the Parinaud's syndrome and also in parkinsonism and progressive supranuclear palsy. Spontaneous (SB) and reflex blinking consist of two components: the inhibition of the basal tonic LPS activity, which keeps the eyes open, and the concurrent activation of the OO muscles. LPS inhibition precedes and outlasts the OO activation. This normal configuration is impaired in parkinsonism and blepharospasm (BSP). SB shows a highly interindividual rate variation (among 10-20 per minute in adults) and abnormal blink rates occur in neurological diseases related to dopaminergic transmission impairments. Lid postural abnormalities include involuntary eyelid closure, which is usually associated with inability to open the eyes. Two major disorders share these two aspects: BSP and blepharocolysis (BCO). BSP consists of an involuntary overactivity of the OO, with LPS co-contraction activity, and is expressed as frequent and prolonged blinks, clonic bursts, prolonged tonic contraction or a blend of all of them. BCO (commonly named "so-called lid opening apraxia") is an overinhibition of the LPS with no evidence of ongoing OO activity. BSP and BCO occur in many instances of idiopathic dystonias and basal ganglia diseases and, less frequently, in rostral brainstem lesions. Both may coincide in the same patient. Voluntary lid movement disorders comprise the impairment of Bell's phenomenon, the voluntary eyelid closure palsy and the so-called cerebral ptosis, all related to lesions of frontal cortical areas and/or the corticospinal system.

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