“Look beyond Face Value:” Moebius Syndrome Awareness

Moebius Syndrome Awareness DayAs the birthday of Dr. Paul Julius Moebius, Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day is commemorated annually on January 24th. In 1888, Dr. Moebius was first diagnosed with the rare neurological condition, which affects the muscles controlling facial expressions and eye movements. Although signs and symptoms of this condition are present from birth, weakness or paralysis of facial muscles is one of the most common characteristics.

According to the Moebius Syndrome Foundation, those affected with this condition may lack facial expressions, and may not be able to smile, frown, or raise their eyebrows. The muscle weakness also causes mechanical problems with eating that become apparent in early infancy and affects muscles that control back-and-forth eye movement. Affected individuals must move their head from side to side to read or follow the movement of objects.

As mentioned, this condition also affects the muscles controlling eye movements which can make it difficult to make eye contact, eyes may not look in the same direction, and eyelids may not close completely when blinking or sleeping, which can result in dryness or irritation. Individuals who have Moebius Syndrome may also have limb and chest abnormalities, difficulty breathing, and delayed speech which have been shown to improve with therapy.

The cause of Moebius Syndrome is unknown, although the condition likely results from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Researchers are still working to identify and describe specific genes related to this condition.

SLP Services at the Speech-Language Institute Elkins Park PAWhile there is no single course of medical treatment or cure, treatment is available in accordance with symptoms. Physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy can improve motor skills and coordination, leading to better controlled speaking and eating abilities. Expert speech-language pathologists at the Speech-Language Institute (SLI) of Salus University identify, assess and provide evaluations and intervention services for a variety of conditions.

To combat the symptom of dry eye that results from impaired blinking, frequent lubrication with eye drops is routine. The Eye Institute (TEI) of Salus University’s Dry Eye Clinic focuses on the diagnosis and management of dry eye syndrome and can provide some relief. Surgery may also be an option to correct crossed eyes, protect the cornea, and improve limb and jaw deformities.

Individuals with Moebius Syndrome can live full enriched lives and experience personal and professional success just like anyone else. Remember, it’s important to look beyond face value.

For more information about TEI and SLI’s comprehensive services, visit salusuhealth.com.