Bell’s Palsy is a condition that causes certain facial muscles to weaken or become paralyzed. It occurs when the seventh cranial nerve becomes inflamed. Usually Bell’s Palsy affects only one side of the face.
Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy
There are a number of signs and symptoms of Bell’s Palsy. These include:
- facial numbness
- weakness or paralysis
- droopiness on one side of the face
- face, head, or neck pain
- loss of sense of taste
- dry eye or excessive tearing in the affected eye
What Causes Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s Palsy is most often caused by a virus. When the virus infects the body, it can cause the nerve that controls facial muscles to become swollen.
Most people with Bell’s Palsy improve within a few weeks, although it may take up to six months to recover.
Treating Bell’s Palsy
Treatments of Bell’s Palsy may include:
- antiviral medications
- pain relievers
- physical therapy
Eye Complications Caused by Bell’s Palsy
Additionally, care must be taken to prevent discomfort and complications of dry eye. This might involve the use of lubricating drops, artificial tears, or ointments. The eye may need to be patched or taped shut during sleep.
If the eyelid droops so severely that it is turned outward (a condition known as ectropion), surgery may be necessary to correct it.
Other complications of Bell’s Palsy
Although uncommon, Bell’s Palsy can affect both sides of the face. If this occurs or any other part of the body becomes symptomatic, it is important to see a doctor to rule out other possible causes.