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Question:
My mom's face became very droopy and we think its Bell's palsy but her eye isn't staying open and wants to close. Is it true that the eye always stays open with Bell's palsy or could it close also? 

Answer:
Bell's palsy is almost always unilateral so if your mom's droop is on one side only, that is a likely possibility. Bell's is almost always painless and depending upon its extent can impair the function of the eyelid muscles, facial expression, and mouth on the affected side. It is common for some degree of eye closure to occur with Bell's palsy but that is accompanied in some cases by a degree of openness as the lid cannot mechanically perform its function properly. Generally the eye during recovery will be treated with topical ointments and lubricating eyedrops to protect it. The majority of Bell's improve over a six month interval but a small group is left with partial or even permanent changes. Surgery is available for this group which can restructure the lids and also improve the mouth function. These problems are handled by a team approach of the ophthalmologist, an otolaryngologist and plastic surgeon.

Answered by: Richard Bensinger, MD  Dr. Richard Bensinger

Categories: Eye Conditions

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Answered: Aug 20, 2012

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