Ocular rosacea is an eye inflammation that happens to those who have skin rosacea. Let’s understand this with the example of Mrs. Sethia.
Mrs. Sethia (45-years-old) lives in Surat with her family. Mrs. Setha has been experiencing some redness and itchy eyes over the past few days. Initially, she thought it may be due to a cold or mild infection and took some OTC eye drops. But after some days, she experienced some vision problems. This time she consulted an ophthalmologist who told her that she is suffering from ocular rosacea as she is already having skin rosacea. After checking her symptoms, the doctor prescribed her some medications, along with eye drops, to manage her conditions.
Ocular rosacea affects people between 30 and 50. This is more common in people with lighter or fair skin.
Ocular Rosacea Symptoms
Symptoms of ocular rosacea are:
- Inflamed or swollen eyelids (often called blepharitis)
- Inflammation around your eyes
- Discoloration or redness around your eyes
- Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
- Burning sensation
- Dry eyes
- Watery eyes (or excess tears).
- Discharge from your eyelashes
Ocular Rosacea Symptoms on the Skin of Color
Rosacea often causes “redness” on white or fair skin. People with dark-colored skin may get ocular rosacea. Though symptoms are the same, discoloration due to rosacea can’t be distinguished on dark skin.
Symptoms of ocular rosacea on the skin color are,
- A hot feeling around your eyes
- Discoloration around your eyes
Causes of Ocular Rosacea
Though the actual causes of rosacea are not discovered, the experts suggest some possible explanations.
- A genetic disorder that you may inherit from one or both parents
- Bacteria (H.pylori bacteria that cause gastrointestinal problems)
- Environmental irritants
- A blood circulation issue that makes your blood vessels swollen
Though exact causes of rosacea are not revealed, some circumstances and conditions may trigger it. These conditions could be,
- Too much exposure to UV light
- Exposure to intense weather (like heat, wind or the cold)
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Eating spicy foods
- Caffeine, chocolate, or cheese
How to Diagnose Ocular Rosacea
You must consult a doctor if your eye problems are affecting your vision. Some people with ocular rosacea may develop cornea in future.
Doctors often diagnose rosacea by looking at your face closely. By using a microscope, ophthalmologists and optometrists get an enlarged view of your blood vessels and glands. Tear function tests are also beneficial for doctors in identifying ocular rosacea in the early stage.
Ocular rosacea may not be diagnosed properly in those who don’t have the appearance of skin rosacea. Though these two conditions are parallel, people who have skin rosacea will certainly go for regular eye checkups to avoid ocular rosacea.
Ocular Rosacea Treatment
Though rosacea doesn’t have a permanent cure, with treatments, you can manage symptoms. Early medical treatments may help you to control your symptoms. Skin rosacea problems can be addressed by using a topical antibiotic that you need to apply to the problematic areas. Ocular rosacea can be treated with oral antibiotics.
Tetracycline and doxycycline are commonly preferred medicines for this condition. You need to follow a six-week course to overcome your problems, but sometimes low-dose medications are recommended for longer periods.
Topical cyclosporine is also used to improve symptoms of ocular rosacea. It is often better than doxycycline. This medication has no side effects even for longtime use as an oral antibiotic does. Your doctor may also give you prescribed steroid eye drops to combat your ocular rosacea. By using these eye drops, your inflammation will be decreased within a few days. Steroid eye drops are not prescribed for long-term use.
Over-the-counter Medicines for Rosacea Treatment
If you have dry eyes, then over-the-counter (OTC) saline solutions (artificial tear eye drops) could be beneficial for you. They may lubricate your eyes and prevent cornea damage.
The eye drops that are designed to clear up red eyes should be avoided. They may cause some serious effects in the long run. You may purchase eyelid washes from medical stores. Apply to a clean washcloth and gently rub your eyelash base.
Though two or three options will improve your symptoms immediately, they are not long-lasting.
Home remedies for ocular rosacea
Homemade eyelid washes could be a great option for you. You just need warm water and baby shampoo to wash clothes for these washes. They are very much effective as OTC eyelid washes.
A warm compress is beneficial in clearing glands and stabilizing tear film. You may use warm compresses frequently. Sometimes, an eyelid gentle massage may unclog the clogged glands that are the prime cause of inflammation.
Both warm compresses and eyelid massages are recommended for long-term habits and will not give you temporary relief. Incorporate fish oil and flaxseed into your diet to overcome ocular rosacea.
How to Minimize the Risks of Ocular Rosacea
Once you have been diagnosed with ocular rosacea, the best way to reduce your risk of future outcomes is to know the trigger factors of your rosacea.
- Control your sun exposure
- Learn to live with stress in your life
- Get adequate sleep
The Bottom Line
Ocular rosacea is a chronic condition that may impact your vision to some extent. Though this is not a life-threatening condition, you may get annoyed due to eye irritation. This medical condition has no permanent cure; you can overcome the symptoms with treatment. People who are suffering from this condition should consult a doctor to prevent corneal damage and analyze the effectiveness of various treatment methods.