Ocular rosacea of the eyes is a manifestation of rosacea that mostly affects the eyes and the eyelids. The condition develops in people with rosacea, which is a chronic skin condition affecting the face.
At times, the ocular rosacea, is an indication that you are going to develop later the facial type. Ocular rosacea affects individuals of age between 30 and 50. The condition has been noticed to be more common in people who flush and blush easily.
People affected by rosacea experience symptoms such as redness and irritation of the eyes. Individuals may feel like there is a foreign body such as an eyelash in the eye. They frequently have redness of the cheeks and the nose.
Ocular rosacea can upset the cornea (the upper surface of the eye), especially when one has dry eyes caused by a deficiency of tears. Corneal problems can afterwards lead to visual signs and symptoms as well.
Corneal complications bring about visual symptoms. Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids) can as well bring about the secondary irritation of the cornea from other complications such as misdirected eyelashes. Corneal complications, in the long run, can cause loss of vision.
The signs and symptoms of ocular rosacea at times may precede the skin symptoms of rosacea, develop both at once, later, or occur distinctly on their own. The Main Symptoms Of Ocular Rosacea Include:
- Dry eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Itchy eyes
- Having a gritty feeling, or feeling or something foreign in the eyes
- Red and swollen eyelids
- Stinging and burning of eyes
- Dilated capillaries in the eyes that are visible when you check in the mirror.
The causes of ocular rosacea are not accurately known, just like rosacea, the skin condition.
There are some factors though that have been noticed to have a relationship with the condition. They Include:
- Blocked glands in the eyelids
- Eyelash mites
- Bacterial environment
- Environmental factors
There are several factors that are known to aggravate rosacea, and by extension can aggravate the ocular rosacea also. Some Of Them Include:
- Extreme sunlight, wind or temperatures
- Hot baths and saunas
- Spicy or hot foods or beverages
- Emotions such as stress, embarrassment or anger
- Strenuous exercise
People with rosacea are more vulnerable to getting ocular rosacea, but that does not mean that it is reserved only for them. People without the skin condition have also been diagnosed with the condition.
More women than men get affected by rosacea, however, ocular rosacea affects both males and females equally.
There are studies that have shown that individuals with rosacea, especially those who blush easily have higher chances of developing the condition.
An effective treatment of ocular rosacea requires a patient that is highly motivated to dedicate most of their time to control the condition. Most people suffering from ocular rosacea can be treated with artificial tears, warm compresses and washing the area around the eyes (including the eyelids) using warm water to relieve the symptoms.
Sometimes a combination of antibiotic-steroid ointment may be applied, or oral antibiotics such as doxycycline administered. These antibiotics are offered for a varying length of time depending on the way the patient is responding. Tetracycline, for example work well for rosacea not just because of the antibiotic effect it contains, but also because it decreases the thickness of the secreted oils and thereby reducing ‘plugging’ of the oil gland that happens with the disease.
Several topical medicines can as well be used for the treatment of rosacea. The most common agent for the treatment of rosacea is metronidazole.
Sulfacetamide and Sulfur lotion are other topical agents that can be used to hide some of the redness. These topical agents are normally found in flesh colored formulations.
Today, topical Azasite is also a common topical treatment although the FDA does not approve it for rosacea. The advantage of Azasite is that it is an antibiotic with anti-inflammatory characteristics and also contains no steroids.
Pulsed light is a treatment done mainly by dermatologists to eliminate skin pigmentations and hair. However, in the recent days, it has been investigated for use in treating ocular rosacea. The pulsed light works to constrict blood vessels and reduce skin inflammation.
For severe cases of ocular rosacea, doctors recommend fatty acid supplements. The omega 3 in fatty acid supplements work to bring stability of the meibomian glands of the eyelids that get affected by rosacea. These supplements though must be used under the supervision of a doctor.
Patients taking blood thinners such as aspirin and Coumadin should take caution while taking supplements. Individuals with ocular rosacea sometimes feel that restricting their diet not to include spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol may help in reducing the symptoms. Individuals with ocular rosacea should consult a specialist before their condition worsens.