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NSW government minister Victor Dominello has revealed he must now wear a patch over his right eye after being diagnosed with Bell’s palsy.
Mr Dominello sparked alarm among the public when his eye appeared to droop while speaking at the state’s daily Covid press conference on Wednesday.
The level of concern prompted the customer services minister to visit a doctor who diagnosed him with Bell’s palsy – a type of paralysis that affects one side of the face.
Mr Dominello has since been placed on medication to treat the condition and is now required to wear an eye patch to prevent infection.
NSW Consumer Services Minister Victor Dominello has revealed why he must now wear a patch over his right eye after being diagnosed with Bell’s palsy
Mr Dominello sparked alarm among the public when his right eye appeared out of sync with his left while speaking at the state’s daily Covid press conference on Wednesday
‘The patch is on my right eye – as that is the side of my face that has been frozen,’ he wrote in a Facebook post on Monday.
‘The patch stops the eye from getting infected until I can start blinking with it again.’
The condition causes sudden muscle weakness or paralysis that causes half of the face to appear to droop, leading to one-sided smiles and one eye that refuses to close.
Mr Dominello thanked the public for their ongoing support since his shock diagnosis.
‘A profound thank you to all the people who have shared their experiences and well wishes for my recent diagnosis of Bell’s Palsy,’ he wrote.
‘I am on medication and feeling very fortunate that the community brought the seriousness of the situation to my attention.
‘Also given the feedback received from many people with lived experience – I am also having acupuncture. I am hoping to make a quick recovery.’
Mr Dominello has been keeping the public up to date with his condition since receiving the diagnosis on Wednesday.
‘At this morning’s press conference – a number of people commented on my droopy eye,’ he wrote in his first post.
‘Some people thought I was winking at the cameraman. Some thought I had a stroke.’
Victor Dominello (pictured with Gladys Berejiklian) woke up on Wednesday morning with pins and needles on the right side of his tongue
The NSW customer services minister (pictured) hopes his shock diagnosis will serve as a reminder to everyone to look after their health
Mr Dominello recalled how he felt a pain in his skull behind his right ear on Monday before waking up two days later with pins and needles on the right side of his tongue.
‘I only got it checked this afternoon – after a number of people reached out to see if I was ok,’ he wrote.
‘Thanks to everyone who reached out. The reason I am posting is because hopefully it will remind people to look after their health.
‘We are focused on Covid but there are plenty of other health problems going on.
‘If you have any health concerns – please get them looked after.’
He ended the post by paying tribute to the staff who treated him at Royal North Shore Hospital.
Bell’s Palsy is usually a temporary condition with symptoms typically improving within a few weeks, with complete recovery in six months.
Around 90 per cent of patients will recover completely with time.
WHAT IS BELL’S PALSY?
Bell’s palsy is an unexplained episode of facial muscle weakness or paralysis.
It begins suddenly and worsens over 48 hours. This condition results from damage to the facial nerve (the 7th cranial nerve).
Pain and discomfort usually occur on one side of the face or head.
Bell’s palsy can strike anyone at any age. It occurs most often in pregnant women, and people who have diabetes, influenza, a cold, or another upper respiratory ailment.
Bell’s palsy affects men and woman equally. It is less common before age 15 or after age 60.
Bell’s palsy is not considered permanent, but in rare cases, it does not disappear.
Currently, there is no known cure for Bell’s palsy; however, recovery usually begins 2 weeks to 6 months from the onset of the symptoms.
Most people with Bell’s palsy recover full facial strength and expression.
Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine