What is a facial palsy?
A facial palsy is what happens when the nerves around the eyes or face become damaged, leading to muscle weakness. The facial nerve controls the muscles that move your face. Around the eye, these muscles are important for blinking and closing the eyes. As a result, when facial palsy occurs, the surface of the eye becomes exposed and can subsequently dry out. There are many reasons why the facial nerve function might be affected in this way; we will need to investigate this with you before we can determine the right course of treatment.
How do you treat a facial palsy?
In the first instance – while we’re investigating the cause of the facial palsy – there are several simple things we can do to help protect the surface of the eye. Lubricant drops and gels are the best thing to use initially; these may need to be applied to the eye as often as once every hour. We may also recommend a specially designed eye shield, which can be worn at night or during the day to create a moist chamber around the eye.
Products that can help protect your eye can be found on the following websites:
Facial palsies can improve naturally over time; if it looks as though this is unlikely to happen, however, and if the eye is continuing to dry out, there are several procedures that can be used to improve the function of the eyelids. These may include surgery to help the eyes to close more easily, such as by placing a weight in the upper eyelid; they could also include surgery to lift the lower eyelid if it is drooping significantly (see ectropion correction. We can explore all of these options with you in detail at your appointment.
The Facial Palsy UK website is an excellent source of information and can be found at the following link: