Electrically Induced Blink for the Prevention of Ocular Symptoms and Blurred Vision in Patients With Acute Facial Nerve Palsy

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Abstract

Objectives: Facial nerve palsy causes blurred vision and ocular discomfort due to deficits in blinking and eye closure. The objective of this study was to determine whether eye-blinks could be elicited by electrical stimulation and whether electrically induced blink would have an effect on the visual acuity and ocular symptoms in patients with acute facial nerve palsy. Methods: The zygomatic branch of the facial nerve of fifteen participants with acute facial nerve palsy was electrically stimulated in order to elicit a blink. In successful cases, the participant proceeded with a two-hour TV watching session in which an electrically induced blink was delivered every 5 seconds. The control condition consisted of an otherwise similar TV watching session without electrically induced blinking. Subjective ocular symptoms were evaluated with a Dry Eye Questionnaire and visual acuity was assessed with a Logarithm of the Minimum Angle of Resolution (LogMAR) chart before and after both sessions. Results: The stimulation produced a blink in 8 participants (53%). The visual acuity in the affected eye decreased during the control session, whereas no significant change occurred during the stimulation session. The ocular symptoms were significantly reduced during the stimulation session. Conclusions: Electrically elicited blink is a promising method for reducing the eye symptoms in individuals with acute facial nerve palsy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEar, Nose and Throat Journal
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Bell’s palsy
  • blinking
  • electrical stimulation
  • facial nerve
  • facial paralysis

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

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