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Asymmetry of blinking. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2006 Jan;47(1):195-201



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2-s2.0-33644848332   13 Citations


PURPOSE: Too investigate asymmetry in eyelid movements with blinking, the stability of the asymmetry, and its modifiability in normal humans.

METHODS: Differences in the start time and amplitude between the two eyelids were assessed for voluntary blinks and reflex blinks evoked by supraorbital trigeminal nerve stimulation. These variables were also measured before and up to 18 months after 2 hours of unilateral upper lid restraint.

RESULTS: With voluntary blinks, one eyelid consistently began to close earlier and made a larger eyelid movement than the other eyelid. Stimulation of the supraorbital branch of the trigeminal nerve evoked relatively larger amplitude blinks in one eyelid that correlated with the asymmetries of voluntary blinks. There was a continuum of eyelid asymmetry across all subjects that was stable and independent of other biological asymmetries, such as handedness. Briefly reducing eyelid mobility created a long-lasting change in eyelid asymmetry with blinking.

CONCLUSIONS: Eyelid asymmetry results from differences in the excitability of motoneurons in the left and right facial motor nuclei and does not appear to involve asymmetries in cortical inputs to the brain stem. Because adaptive processes modify the motoneuron excitability that creates eyelid asymmetry, these processes may underlie changes in blinking associated with facial palsy and may play a role in the development of disorders that affect one side of the face, such as hemifacial spasm.

Author List

Kassem IS, Evinger C


Iris S. Kassem MD, PhD Associate Professor in the Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Facial Muscles
Functional Laterality
Middle Aged
Motor Neurons
Oculomotor Muscles