A team of researchers at the Oxford Eye Hospital, based at John Radcliffe Hospital, have created a device designed to help individuals with blepharospasm.

Alexina Fantato

The initial project developing this device was funded and supported by Dystonia UK. Dystonia UK raised the £15,000 required to run the project and supported it by helping to recruit members with blepharospasm to take part in trialling the device. We are delighted that following that trial and some time spent refining the device that it is now available for those living with blepharospasm to order.

Below Alexina Fantato, Clinical Research Nurse Manager, from the PressOp™ team describes the device.

PressOp™ is a new spectacle mounted device designed by clinicians to help individuals with blepharospasm.  PressOp™ has proved its safety and efficacy within an ethically approved clinical trial and is now available for purchase. 

Blepharospasm is the involuntary, increased blink rate and spasmodic eye closure, which is so troublesome and when very severe, so disabling resulting in some sufferers becoming functionally blind. This sometimes requires visual impairment certification. 

The cause of blepharospasm is understood to be due to hyper-excitability of the neuronal circuits between the motor cortex, the basal ganglia and the brain centres controlling the muscles of the eyelids. PressOp™ calms the nerve pathway circuits thereby reducing the symptoms.

The concept of PressOp™ arose after studying individuals with blepharospasm who regularly use “sensory tricks” by applying pressure to the temple region of their forehead as they found this helped to enable eye opening. The device is particularly helpful with controlling an episode of severe spasm when the carrying out of specific tasks is necessary. We particularly recommend the use of PressOp™ for additional relief of eyelid spasms as part of the botulinum treatment cycle. Botulinum toxin injections will take a week or two to take full effect, while two or three months later the effect of the botulinum eases off. Blepharospasm sufferers may find continuity in their quality of life by using PressOp™ while effectiveness of treatment is not at its peak. We also recommend the use of PressOp™ to non-responders of botulinum toxin.

PressOp™ simply slides onto the arm of the spectacles and once in the correct position, is tightened to stay in place, fitting most spectacle designs easily. A rotational arm provides the pressure point to the temple. If you do not need to wear spectacles you may just wear a frame or have clear glass lenses without prescription inserted into a frame.  We hope you enjoy our video demonstrating and explaining how you can use and benefit with the PressOp™ device. 

An order can be placed through the ERGO web site or you may ask Dystonia UK to pass your details to the Project Coordinator.

The PressOp™ Team: Alexina Fantato, Manoj Parulekar, John Elston



Published: 11th April 2019