BELL’S PALSY AND YOUR EYES By Dr. Mark German, Optometrist at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin
You experience a sudden weakness on one side of your face. It looks like you have had a stroke but it is probably Bell’s palsy. This condition is generally due to swelling of the nerve responsible for movement in your face (the “facial nerve”) and not a blood clot like a stroke.
The cause of the swelling is generally not known but the problem usually resolves without treatment in up to 84% of patients. The resolution starts about 3 weeks after the onset of the paralysis and may take up to 3 months. Oral steroids are sometimes used to speed up the process.
If the Bell’s palsy results in problems closing one eye, you should be followed by your eye care professional to be sure not damage the eye.
The key is keeping the cornea, or front part of the eye, lubricated. Frequent tear drops, an ointment at night and even taping the eye closed at night may be necessary.
Bell’s palsy is more common in diabetics, those with a family history of the condition and pregnant women. It can be associated with shingles in the ear canal or other problems.
If you think you have Bell’s palsy, you should first be evaluated by your primary care physician. They will then determine if you need to have an eye care professional involved to coordinate your care. Do you have other questions about your eyes or vision? Give us a call.
Dr. Mark German practices general optometry at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin. He welcomes patients of all ages into his practice and accepts most insurance plans.
For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.LakeShoreVision.com.