-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- Surgery can improve eye
comfort and quality of life for people with facial paralysis who
can't completely close their eyes, according to a small, new
The inability to close an eye means a loss of protection for the
cornea, which "can lead to exposure keratitis [inflammation of the
cornea], corneal ulceration, and potentially permanent vision
loss," wrote Dr. Douglas K. Henstrom, of Harvard Medical School and
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and colleagues.
"Eyelid weight placement, lower eyelid suspension, and brow ptosis [drooping or sagging of the eyelid] correction are frequently performed to protect the eye," they noted.
The study -- published in the March issue of the journal
Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery -- included 37 patients
with paralytic inability to completely close their eye who were
assessed before and after surgery. Overall, their quality of life
improved significantly after surgery.
"Patients also reported a significant decrease in the amount of time their eye felt dry, irritated or scratchy," the researchers wrote in a journal news release.
Two patients developed a bacterial infection of the skin and
tissues beneath the skin in reaction to the eyelid weight, and one
eyelid weight had to be removed.
"In the overall treatment paradigm for patients with facial paralysis, treating the eye using this modality is simple, and not only improves corneal protection but also yields a significant subjective benefit," the researchers concluded.
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