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Bell’s palsy, is the condition that involves damage to the seventh cranial nerve that controls the movement of facial muscles. Bell’s palsy sometimes follows a cold and the symptoms usually start suddenly and affect one side of the face only.

What causes Bell’s palsy?

Bell’s palsy maybe due to swelling of the seventh cranial nerve in the area where it travels in the skull. Bell’s palsy can be caused by a few conditions including a herpes infection, HIV infection, Lyme disease, middle ear infection or sarcoidosis.

What are the symptoms of Bell’s palsy?

  • Your face will feel stiff, or pull and might look different than usual.
  • You may have trouble closing an eye
  • You may have difficulty eating or drinking
  • You may have a drooping eyelid or corner of the mouth
  • You may have trouble making facial expressions
  • Your face muscles may twitch

How is Bell’s palsy treated?

There is usually no treatment required for Bell’s palsy and symptoms start to improve on their own. It might take months or longer for the muscles to regain their strength. Long-term symptoms may include changes in ability to taste, muscle or eyelid spasms and some remaining facial muscle weakness.
Sometimes medication is prescribed such as a corticosteroid to help reduce swelling around the cranial nerve.

There is no known way to prevent Bell’s palsy. Contact your ophthalmologist immediately if your face droops or you have other symptoms.