Meige syndrome is characterized by the combination of blepharospasm and oromandibular dystonia. The severity of these conditions varies from case to case. Meige syndrome most often affects middle-aged individuals.
Blepharospasm is characterized by frequent or forced blinking and eye irritation that often occurs as a result of specific stimuli including bright lights, fatigue, emotional tension, and environmental factors such as wind or air pollution. The frequency of Muscle spasms and contractions may increase causing narrowing of the opening between the eyelids or involuntary closure of the eyelids. It may become progressively harder for affected individuals to keep their eyes open. Blepharospasm may originally affect one eye (unilateral), but usually becomes (bilateral). Some individuals with Meige syndrome may experience abnormally dry eyes.
Oromandibular dystonia is characterized by involuntary, forceful contractions of the jaw and tongue, often making it difficult to open or close the mouth. Some individuals may also experience clenching or grinding of the teeth, displacement of the jaw, grimacing, chin thrusting, or repeated pursing of the lips. Eyelid and facial muscle tone may gradually decline.
Some people with Meige syndrome may also experience spasms of the tongue and throat, resulting in repeated protrusion of the tongue from the mouth and difficulty swallowing. Muscle spasms of the respiratory tract may lead to breathing difficulties (dyspnea). In some cases, muscles in the neck, arms, legs or other muscle groups may become affected.