The History of Botox in Ophthalmology

October 7, 2014

As an Oculoplastic surgeon, I have the added benefit of not only being an Ophthalmologist, but having plastic surgery expertise as well.

In addition to doing a residency in Ophthalmology, I did an extra fellowship year performing cosmetic and medical eye lid, brow, and facial surgeries as well as studying the muscles of the face and skin. This makes me well qualified to perform cosmetic procedures like Botox injections.

Ophthalmologists have been using Botox to treat patients longer than any other physician. In the 1950s, scientists discovered that botulinum toxic could reduce muscle spasms. In the 1960s and 1970s, researchers studied its effect on patients with crossed eyes. In 1989, Allergan (a pharmaceutical company that specializes in products for the eye) introduced Botox, the first botulinum toxin approved by the FDA to treat blepharospasms (eyelid spasms) as well as crossed eyes. Botox was used by Ophthalmologists exclusively for over a decade. But after recognizing the impact Botox had on decreasing the appearance of wrinkles, the FDA approved Botox to minimize frown lines between the brows in 2002.

Since the FDA’s approval of Botox for cosmetic purposes, Botox use has exploded. It has been found to improve not only eye issues and wrinkles, but is now being used to treat severe underarm sweating and migraines. Botox is even being studied to measure its effects on treating depression. So while its uses continues to grow, Ophthalmologists will always be steeped in Botox history and will remain the physicians with the most experience.

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