The aetiology of blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm is different, but both produce involuntary eye closure and facial movements which do not respond to systemic drug treatment. The introduction of therapeutic focal muscle weakening with botulinum toxin injections in the early 1980s appeared to offer great promise in the management of these conditions. In this paper the results of botulinum toxin treatment of 234 patients with blepharospasm and 73 patients with hemifacial spasm over a 7-year period have been analysed. Most patients receive sustained benefit from repeated injections whilst side-effects become less frequent. A clinically recognisable subgroup of patients with blepharospasm respond poorly and may be better treated surgically.