A new study found that eye surgery can improve eye comfort and quality of life for those with facial paralysis, which is a devastating problem for the patient, as the eyelids can’t close to moisturize and protect the eye. This leads to corneal dryness, irritation and tearing, and the paralyzed side of the face may be expressionless and drooping.
“Eyelid weight placement, lower eyelid suspension, and brow ptosis [drooping or sagging of the eyelid] correction are frequently performed to protect the eye,” wrote Dr. Douglas K. Henstrom, of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and colleagues.
The study included 37 patients with facial paralysis who had surgery using platinum eyelid weights to treat the condition and completed preoperative and postoperative quality of life surveys. 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 news release.
“This simple intervention can give patients improvement not only in eye health but in overall quality of life,” the authors wrote in their discussion. “In addition, those patients who do not report an improvement in global quality of life tend to still report an improvement in eye-specific quality-of-life measures.”
The researchers concluded that in the overall treatment paradigm for patients with facial paralysis, treating the eye using this method is simple, and not only improves corneal protection but also yields a significant subjective benefit.
The study, “Surgical Treatment of the Periocular Complex and Improvement of Quality of Life in Patients With Facial Paralysis,” appeared in the March/April issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, and the abstract can be viewed online.