Bell’s palsy that paralyzes eyelid

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A special disease that may affect the eyes is called Bell’s palsy, which usually occurs suddenly and happens to one out of 60 folks. Also named as idiopathic facial paralysis, Bell’s palsy is formally defined as a dysfunction of cranial nerve VII, which causes a patient unable to control facial muscles at a certain side. This disease acts much like a stroke, and the affected side of the face can not move flexibly. The temporarily paralyzed facial nerve can not control the face and lip on the affected side.

Symptoms of Bell’s palsy

Bell’s palsy features drooping on the affected half caused by the facial nerve’s malfunction. Face paralysis is not the only consequence. This seventh cranial nerve also controls the movement of eyelid and muscles of the forehead and neck. Other actions under the control of this nerve include eyelid blinking, closing, smiling, frowning, lacrimation and salivation. As a result, people suffering from Bell’s palsy can not close their eyelids at the affected side. Moreover, an affected eyelid will slightly turn outward. But the eyeball is still under control, since it is controlled by a separate cranial nerve.

How to deal with it?

Since the affected eyelid is out of control, tears in the affected eye accelerate to evaporate. As a result, Bell’s palsy sometimes causes severe dry eye, which is known as exposure keratitis. In this case, those patients will be asked to use an eye patch to keep the eye moist. Before the onset of Bell’s palsy, some people may feel pain behind the ear. Ocular lubricants such as non-preserved artificial tears and eye ointments can be used to treat Bell’s palsy. With proper treatment, Bell’s palsy will disappear within six months, otherwise consequential corneal ulceration and scarring may be left.