Does Bell’s Palsy Affect Your Brain & Why Does My Eye Water With Bell’s Palsy?

Bell’s palsy affects the cranial nerves and there is an abnormal fraction of amplitude fraction with low-frequency fluctuation affecting the brain.1, 2

Patients with Bell’s palsy have excessive tearing leading to drooping of the lower eyelid and spillage of tears.3

Most people with Bell’s palsy are unable to blink hence the tears do not cover the eye surface as they should.4

Facial paralysis ensues when a few of the nerves of the face are either fragile or paralyzed. Facial paralysis may be due to several causes that include Bell’s Palsy, stroke, infection, certain types of tumors, and trauma. Correct diagnosis help find the right cause of the disease.

It can affect any person of any sex and age but people with pre-conditions are at higher risk of developing this disorder. The condition occurs when there is damage to the seventh cranial nerve affecting the muscles of the face, ear, respiratory organs, and tear glands.

Does Bell’s Palsy Affect Your Brain?

Bell’s palsy affects the cranial nerves and there is an abnormal fraction with low-frequency fluctuation affecting the brain. However medical studies demonstrate that several other conditions have also the potential of causing facial palsy, for example, stroke, brain tumor, Lyme disease, and a few others. There are instances during which a specific cause cannot be identified, in such cases, doctors suggest that Bell’s palsy may be the causing factor.

Bell’s palsy is typically mononeuritis (Inflammation of a single nerve) but certain cases have been found to show myriad symptoms that include headache, exhaustion, impairment in a few neurological functionalities, memory problems, balance issues, and facial tingling.

A study was conducted to determine the abnormal fluctuation of right and left Bell’s palsy. The study involved seventy-five patients, sex-matched, and all in the same age. They were assessed using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging(rsfMRI). This is a test used in brain mapping to evaluate regional interactions and has gained widespread application in neuroimaging clinical research. The results were compared, and it showed the abnormal brain regions.1,2

The left Bell’s Palsy showed significantly decreased values when compared to the right Bell’s palsy. Based on the values, the patients noticed severity in their conditions.

Why Does My Eye Water With Bell’s Palsy?

Bell’s palsy patients often have problems with face drooping, trouble controlling their saliva, trouble eating, and excessive tearing of the eyes. Excessing tearing or teary eyes usually occur when you are emotional, cough, or laugh, however with Bell’s palsy, it is one of the typical symptoms.

Excessing tearing occurs when the eye is irritated or inflamed due to infection and this infection can lead to vision loss. Patients with Bell’s palsy have excessive tearing leading to drooping of the lower eyelid and spillage of tears.3

They are unable to blink hence the tears do not cover the eye surface as they should. Subsequently, tear production is reduced due to the failure of the parasympathetic fibers thus leading to the excessing drooping and spillage of the tears.

Excessive tearing due to viral infections or other conditions should be taken immediate attention to avoid cornea damage. Your doctor may suggest for moisture chamber or an eye patch. When you have excessive drooping, you may be advised a suture (stitch) to hold the eyelids together. You need to have more awareness of excessing tearing for early detection and effective treatment.4

References:

  1. “Bell’s Palsy Fact Sheet.” National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/patient-caregiver-education/fact-sheets/bells-palsy-fact-sheet.
  2. Rubin, Michael, et al. “Bell Palsy – Brain, Spinal Cord, and Nerve Disorders.” Merck Manuals Consumer Version, Merck Manuals, www.merckmanuals.com/en-ca/home/brain,-spinal-cord,-and-nerve-disorders/cranial-nerve-disorders/bell-palsy.
  3. “Bell’s Palsy 2.0-Crocodile Dundee Tears.” Clinical Correlations, www.clinicalcorrelations.org/2008/03/05/bells-palsy-20%E2%80%94crocodile-dundee-tears/.
  4. College of Optometrists – Professional body for optometrists – London, UK. “Facial Palsy (Bell’s Palsy).” College of Optometrists – Professional Body for Optometrists, www.college-optometrists.org/guidance/clinical-management-guidelines/facial-palsy-bell-s-palsy-.html.

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