Various kinds of complications can arise from Bell’s palsy. Some of them may come about depending on the severity of your nerve damage.
About 20% of people with Bell’s palsy suffer from long-term problems associated with Bell’s palsy. These problems can involve:
Tearing when eating which is sometimes termed as ‘crocodile tears’
Corneal ulceration and eye drying– Corneal ulceration can happen when there is eyelid dysfunction making the eyelid unable to completely close and the tear film also unable to fully protect the eye. Corneal ulceration can lead to lessened tear production making the eye very prone to infection and blindness.
Eye-mouth synkinesias – Eye-mouth synkinesias happens when the facial nerve regenerates abnormally. This forces your eye to wink when smiling, laughing or eating. In some cases, the synkenisias are serious enough to force the eye to close completely while you’re eating.
Speech problems – This may happen due to facial muscle damage.
Reduced or loss of sense of taste – if the damaged facial nerves do not heal properly, this condition can occur.
Facial contracture – When the muscles in your face become permanently tense, it can result in disfigurement in the face such as the line between the mouth and nose becoming deeper, the cheek becoming more bulky, or the eye becoming smaller.
The following factors can lead to long-term complications of Bell’s palsy:
- The nerves in your face is severely damaged
- You are pregnant
- You have diabetes
- You have high blood pressure
- You experienced severe pain when you first experienced symptoms
- You are over 60 years old
- You have experienced a palsy that resulted in complete paralysis on one side of your face
- You fail to get well after six weeks
Ramsay Hunt syndrome
If you had an infection of the varicella-zoster virus that ended up with you getting Bell’s palsy, there may be a chance that you could end up with a condition named Ramsay Hunt syndrome. This complication though rarely occurs with only about 2% of individuals with Bell’s palsy developing it.
Ramsay Hunt syndrome symptoms can involve the formation of blisters on the inside of your ears and on your tongue. These symptoms can be effectively addressed with antiviral drugs and steroids.
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