A Little Botox Around the Eyes, Please

June 7, 2013

Botox Treatment Areas

Yes, it’s true — a large number of people are having Botox® injections to regain a more youthful appearance. In fact, some people are even hosting Botox® parties — where several women and men (yes, men) gather together for cocktails and wrinkle-banishing injections. Dr. Jeffrey Gold of Liberty Vision does not particularly favor the concept of Botox® parties because the alcohol involved can cloud people’s judgment and also alcohol can act as a blood thinner causing bleeding at the injection sites.  He much prefers the more professional setting of a private medical office! Botox® is today’s magic eraser for the telltale signs of aging around the eyes and other areas of the face.

Botox® is a trade name for botulinum toxin A.  This is the same toxin that causes botulism. Botulism is a form of food poisoning that occurs when someone eats something containing a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Botulinum toxin A is one of the neurotoxins produced by Clostridium botulinum. The initial discovery of these fantastic new uses for botulinum is credited to a San Francisco physician, Alan Scott, MD after many predecessors conducted experiments that pointed to the many therapeutic uses for it.  Two Canadian physicians, Drs. Alistair and Jean Carruthers have really pioneered the way physicians worldwide now use Botulinum Toxin A for cosmetic purposes.

Today, botulinum toxin A is used for cosmetic as well as medical purposes such as:

  • Temporary removal of facial wrinkles, including frown lines, bunny lines, and forehead lines
  • Temporary removal of crow’s feet around the eyes
  • Severe underarm sweating
  • Severe palmar sweating
  • Cervical dystonia – a neurological disorder that causes severe neck and shoulder muscle contractions
  • Blepharospasm – uncontrollable blinking
  • Strabismus – misaligned eyes

Botox injections work by weakening or paralyzing certain muscles or by blocking certain nerves. The actual chemical blockage occurs at the junction of the nerve and its muscle. The effects last about three to four months. Side effects can include pain at the injection site, flu-like symptoms, headache and upset stomach. Injections above the eyes may also cause temporary drooping eyelids when not properly performed. You should not use Botox if you are pregnant or breast feeding. (Food and Drug Administration)

Possible Side Effects of Botox:

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; feeling like you might pass out; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

The botulinum toxin contained in Botox can spread to other body areas beyond where it was injected. This has caused serious life-threatening side effects in some people receiving botulism toxin injections, even for cosmetic purposes.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects, some of which can occur up to several weeks after an injection:

  • trouble breathing, talking, or swallowing;
  • hoarse voice, drooping eyelids;
  • unusual or severe muscle weakness (especially in a body area that was not injected with the medication);
  • loss of bladder control;
  • problems with vision;
  • crusting or drainage from your eyes;
  • severe skin rash or itching;
  • fast, slow, or uneven heartbeats; or
  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, general ill feeling.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • muscle weakness near where the medicine was injected;
  • bruising, bleeding, pain, redness, or swelling where the injection was given;
  • headache, muscle stiffness, neck or back pain;
  • fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, flu symptoms,
  • dizziness, drowsiness, tired feeling;
  • nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, loss of appetite;
  • dry mouth, dry eyes, ringing in your ears;
  • increased sweating in areas other than the underarms;
  • itchy or watery eyes, increased sensitivity to light; or
  • eyelid swelling or bruising.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Although the FDA mandates that all of these side effects must be listed, in Dr. Gold’s practice, he has never seen any of these side effects.  Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Dr. Jeffrey Gold is an award winning surgeon and the medical director of Laser Body Solutions. His practice is located in Hamden Connecticut.