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Periocular Treatment Improves Eye Comfort and Quality of Life for Patients with Facial Paralysis

Contact: Mary Leach, Director, Public Affairs, Mass. Eye and Ear
Ph.: 617-573-4170

Boston — (March 21, 2011) — Patients with facial paralysis who underwent surgical treatment for a condition that leaves them unable to completely close their eyes reported improvement in comfort around the eyes and overall quality of life Douglas K. Henstrom, M.D., Mack L. Cheney, M.D., and Tessa A. Hadlock, M.D., of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Facial Nerve Center, in addition to Robin Lindsay, M.D. of the Bethesda Naval Medical Center, Baltimore, MD., who conducted the research. The report is published in the March issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery.

The inability to close the eye can be a devastating result of facial paralysis.  “The resulting loss of corneal protection can lead to exposure keratitis [inflammation of the cornea], corneal ulceration, and potentially permanent vision loss,” the authors write as background information in the article.  “Eyelid weight placement, lower eyelid suspension, and brow ptosis [drooping or sagging of the eyelid] correction are frequently performed to protect the eye.”    

The authors measured and reported the change in quality of life (QOL) after surgical periocular treatment.  The researchers used the Facial Clinimetric Evaluation (FaCE) scale – a patient-based system that measures impairment and disability in facial paralysis.

49 patients with paralytic inability to completely close the eye were treated at the Facial Nerve Center at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston.  37 of the patients completed pre-operative and post-operative FaCE surveys.

“Overall QOL, measured by the FaCE instrument, significantly improved following static periocular treatment,” the authors report.  “Mean FaCE scores increased from 44.1 to 52.7.  Patients also reported a significant decrease in the amount of time their eye felt dry, irritated, or scratchy,” the authors write.
“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 authors conclude.

Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.