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Hello. Bell's palsy is a unilateral (one-sided) neuropathy involving the facial nerve (cranial nerve #7). In many cases, it is believed to be provoked by a reactivation of the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). It is usually treated with anti-viral medications such as acyclovir or valcyclovir and/or steroid anti-inflammatories. The prognosis is related to the severity of the lesion, with 80-90% showing signs of recovery within 3 weeks.
The paralysis of Bell's palsy involves the entire side of the face, including the eye muscles. When weak, one cannot close the eye completely, so it gets dry and painful. A secondary infection or corneal ulcers can occur, so it is very important to use eye drops or lacrilube to keep the eye moist. Some recommend taping the eye shut at night, or wearing an eye patch to keep the eye closed until the Bell's palsy resolves.
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