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Commonly referred to as Bell’s Palsy, 7th Nerve Palsy causes sudden weakness or paralysis of the muscles on one side of the face. The condition can be caused by a number of factors, including an immune disorder, shingles, lyme disease and other viruses, and in some cases is congenital. Often starting as pain behind the ear, the full extent of the palsy symptoms occurs in 48-72 hours. Difficulty closing the eye, less blinking and dry eye can cause pain and must be addressed to minimize eye damage. Facial musculature that affect the eye and brow movement may cause a change in the shape of the eye.
In most cases, the palsy will resolve itself in several months. However, the condition may cause problems with the eye on the affected side and minor eyelid surgery may be recommended to protect the eye from further damage. Botox may be used to address certain problems, such as asymmetry, but must be used with great care. Due to the injury to the seventh nerve, treatments to correct the functionality or cosmetic appearance of the eye require specialized oculoplastic training to reduce the risk of additional damage to the eye and nerve.