Ocular Rosacea and Dry Eye
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that affects the face, and of them, more than 50% will experience eye-related symptoms. While there is a lot of research out there on ocular rosacea, a cure remains elusive. Fortunately, your eye doctor can help you manage your symptoms through medication and offer guidance on how to best manage this condition.
What is Ocular Rosacea?
Ocular rosacea is a common inflammatory eye condition that causes redness, itching, and burning sensations around the eyes in many people who have rosacea. The primary parts of the eyes that are affected are the eyelids, conjunctiva, and occasionally the cornea.
Ocular rosacea is often found in patients with facial rosacea, although ocular rosacea may occur independently. The hallmark sign is the presence of tiny blood vessels along the margins of the eyelids. These vessels cause inflammation which affects the tear film production and overall function of the tear film”
What Are the Symptoms of Ocular Rosacea?
Signs and symptoms of ocular rosacea are similar to dry eye. Those with the condition may experience:
- Burning, red, itchy, or watery eyes
- Grittiness or the feeling of having a foreign body in one or both eyes
- Red, swollen eyelids
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
- Recurrent eye or eyelid infections, such as blepharitis, pink eye (conjunctivitis), chalazia or styes
- Dilated small blood vessels on the sclera (the white part of the eye)
What Causes Ocular Rosacea?
The exact cause of ocular rosacea is unknown, but researchers have found that 85% of people with the condition have blocked oil glands around the edges of their eyelids. When these glands are blocked they cause dryness and the area around them can get irritated and swollen. This can lead to crust in your eyelashes and itching and redness in your eyes.
Other potential triggers:
- Bacterial involvement
- Blocked glands in the eyelids
- Environmental factors
- Eyelash mites
There are also a number of things that can aggravate ocular rosacea, including alcohol consumption, hot baths and saunas, hot or spicy foods and beverages, strenuous exercise, stress, sunlight, wind, and extreme temperatures.
Is There Treatment For Ocular Rosacea?
Ocular rosacea can usually be controlled with home eye care and medication, but these don’t actually cure the condition.
Treatment may include applying a warm moist compress to your eyelids. Your eye doctor might recommend antibiotics, prescribe eye drops, or ointments with steroids to help with your symptoms. In rare circumstances, left untreated, severe ocular rosacea can damage your cornea or scar your eyelid. Both can affect your vision.
Treating the root cause achieves the greatest long-term control of the signs and symptoms of ocular rosacea and dry eye. This involves calming the inflammation caused by the leaky blood vessels that surround the meibomian glands in the lids and along the lid margin.
Treatment with Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) targets the malformed blood vessels, causing them to recede over the course of treatment, thus eliminating much of the cause of the dry eye. At-home care with lid hygiene products (link) such has Zocular, Hypochlorous Acid, or Tea Tree Oil help to keep demodex and inflammation under control between IPL treatments
To help prevent flare-ups:
- Gently wash your eyelids at least twice a day with warm water or a product your doctor recommends. This will keep your eyelids clean.
- Avoid makeup. If your eyes are inflamed, makeup can irritate them. If you do decide to wear makeup when they aren’t inflamed, choose types that are non-oily and free of fragrance.
- Avoid wearing contact lenses during flare-ups.
- Avoid things that trigger or worsen your ocular rosacea. Items that tend to dilate blood vessels in the face include alcoholic beverages and hot, spicy foods.
- Avoid things that trigger or worsen your ocular rosacea… etc
- Avoid harsh facial products such as cleansers with laurel sulfates (the ingredient that makes face washes foam); avoid retinol products;
- Wash eyelids twice daily with home hygiene products
To learn more about ocular rosacea and dry eye, contact Dry Eye Center at Premier Vision Clinic. We can help you prevent flare-ups and treat your ocular rosacea-induced dry eye.Our practice serves patients from West Des Moines, Clive, Waukee, and Urbandale, Iowa and surrounding communities.