Botulinum toxin is an important treatment for many conditions in ophthalmology, including strabismus, nystagmus, blepharospasm, hemifacial spasm, spastic and congenital entropion, corneal exposure, and persistent epithelial defects. The mechanism of action of botulinum toxin for both strabismus and nystagmus is the neuromuscular blockade and transient paralysis of extraocular muscles, but when botulinum toxin is used for some forms of strabismus, a single injection can convey indefinite benefits. There are two unique mechanisms of action that account for the long-term effect on ocular alignment: (1) the disruption of a balanced system of agonist-antagonist extraocular muscles and (2) the reestablishment of central control of alignment by the binocular visual system. For other ocular conditions, botulinum toxin acts through transient paralysis of periocular muscles. Botulinum toxin is a powerful tool in ophthalmology, achieving its therapeutic effects by direct neuromuscular blockade of extraocular and periocular muscles and by unique mechanisms related to the underlying structure and function of the visual system.