Facial Paralysis may have a severe effect on an individual both physically and emotionally. Physically, the effects occur mainly around the eye and mouth. The major effects on the eye function are discomfort, tearing, blurring of vision, recurring infections and occasional corneal ulceration. The eye often has a staring-like appearance. The effects around the mouth include lack of support to the lower lip which results in oral incompetence and drooling, speech problems related to lack of kip contact and inability to create a symmetrical smile.
On attempting to smile, the normal side pulls over and distorts the paralyzed side frequently making the appearance more abnormal. Often, the greatest concern is the inability to smile and create a positive emotional expression. Facial expression is a critical feature of interpersonal communication. The lack of active facial musculature and facial tone leads to drooping of the face and an asymmetrical appearance at rest. This drooping tends to progress with time and be more apparent in the older patient. Some patients have paralysis on both sides of the face resulting in an expressionless face with no ability to convey emotion through facial expression and flat drooping facial appearance.
From an emotional standpoint, the effects of facial paralysis can be enormous. The social consequences of a facial difference are well known, affecting the person's self esteem and ability to function in society.