Eyelid Myoclonia with Absences in Adults: A Clinical and Video-EEG Study


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. C. P. Panayiotopoulos at Department of Clinical Neurophysiology and Epilepsies, St. Thomas' Hospital, Lambeth Palace Rd., London SE1 7EH, England.


Summary: We report clinical and video-EEG findings in 11 adults with the syndrome of eyelid myoclonia with absences (EMA). Prevalence was 2.7% among all epilepsies and 12.9% among idiopathic generalized epilepsies (IGE) with typical absences. All patients with EMA were women, with a mean age of 30.9 years and a mean age of 7.8 years at reported onset of eyelid myoclonia. The characteristic seizures, studied with video-EEG in 10 patients, began with and were mainly manifested by eyelid myoclonia, either alone if brief (leqslant R: less-than-or-eq, slant 2 s) or with associated mild impairment of consciousness if longer. The ictal EEG was characterized by polyspike and slow waves at 3-6 Hz. Ictal clinical and EEG manifestations occurred mainly after eye closure and were inhibited by total darkness. All patients were photosensitive, but photosensitivity decreased with age; nonpatient had self-induced seizures. Infrequent generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS) occurred in all but the youngest patient; they were usually infrequent and were precipitated mainly by flickering lights, sleep deprivation, fatigue, and menstruation. Mild myoclonic jerks of the upper limbs occurred in 6 patients. Eyelid myoclonia was resistant to medication and persisted despite control of other seizures.