A condition that commonly results in temporary paralysis of facial muscles, Bell's Palsy is a viral infection that affects the facial nerve. The side of the face affected can display a drooping mouth, sagging eyebrow and lower eyelid, and the inability to close the eye. This can result in an extreme form of dry eye known as exposure keratitis. Most people with Bell's Palsy suffer from this and may develop the appearance of a teary eye, but in fact it remains dry due to its inability to blink or completely close. Patients with Bell's Palsy are recommended to see an ophthalmologist for consultation, as treatment will likely involve the application of artificial tears during the day and an ophthalmic ointment at night. Lubrication in the affected eye is highly suggested to maintain the overall health of the eye. Nearly 80 percent of Bell's Palsy patients recover within six months, but without proper care for the eye affected, needless suffering and permanent consequences such as corneal ulceration and scarring can occur.
More common in adults, people with diabetes, and pregnant women, Bell's Palsy should be followed-up with an ophthalmologist through periodic professional eye examinations.