CLONIC facial spasm is the term used to describe repeated and involuntary twitches of the muscles supplied by one facial nerve. There is no weakness of the affected muscles, and the sufferer is more often than not a woman of middle age. The movements usually start in the muscles around the eye, and in time may spread to all the muscles on one side of the face. Each twitch is over in a flash and may be rapidly repeated for as long as a minute before gradually fading away. An attack will appear for no reason and once it starts cannot be suppressed. Emotion plays little or no part in the disorder and it may even start up during sleep.
A bout is sometimes provoked by strong voluntary contraction. For instance, a request to shut the eyes tightly is sufficient, in most patients, to bring on a bout of twitches.
CAWTHORNE T. Clonic Facial Spasm. Arch Otolaryngol. 1965;81(5):504–505. doi:10.1001/archotol.1965.00750050517014
Otolaryngology in JAMA: Read the Latest
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.