It is reported that
about half of all Rosacea sufferers also have some sort of symptoms with their eyes which is
known as Ocular Rosacea. One study (Starr, McDonald 1969) found
ocular rosacea symptoms in 58% of patients.
(perhaps 20% of the time) eye problems precede the typical skin
related rosacea symptoms though it more usual (about 53% of the
time) for the skin symptoms to appear first. (Borrie,
& Medical Conditions
ocular rosacea include dry eyes or tearing, redness, burning,
pain or a feeling that something is in the eye - perhaps a
gritty feeling. (Jenkins 1979). Also, scales and crusts on the
eyelids, sensitivity to light and blurry vision
of eyelashes or lid margins, the generic term for which is
Blepharitis often results in red, itchy, burning eyes and lashes
as well as scales and crusts on the eyelids. Included in this
group of conditions are sties which are infections of eyelash
follicles. Other conditions include an enlarged / inflamed
or plugged meibomian gland (the gland which lubricates the
eyelids) which is called chalazia or meibomitis. Problems with
the meibomian gland may result in dry
Red, painful eyes may be the result
of conditions known as episcleritis and scleritis. Both
conditions involve inflamed blood vessels in the eye.
is one of the more serious conditions which may occur in
relation to ocular rosacea. Keratitis is a term which is
used to a range of conditions where there is infection or
inflammation of the cornea. This condition may result in severe
eye pain, blurry vision and sensitivity to light. Medical
evaluation and treatment of keratits is absolutely essential.
- Inflammation of the iris, a part of the eye. Symptoms include
eye pain, sensitivity to light, and/or blurry vision. The
symptoms of this may resemble conjunctivitis.
Blepharitis - The most important part of treatment of many
forms of eyelid inflammation and infection is lash hygiene. Clean
eyelashes carefully every morning with a warm,
moist wash-cloth. Soak the lashes with this cloth, and then
scrub the lid margin to remove the scales and crusts that have
accumulated overnight. Some physicians recommend scrubbing the
lashes with baby shampoo as well. Remember to remove all mascara before going to
In addition the following advice may also apply
sties: The best thing for a stye is a hot
compress. Apply a warm, moist washcloth to your lids for 5
minutes, four times a day. Within a few days the infection will
either die down or come to a head and drain.
on eyelids) : Hot packs are the best treatment for these infections,
also. However, if the bump fails to go away in a month it may be
necessary to drain it. This is done in your Ophthalmologist's
To prevent infections from recurring, it is important to keep your
lids and lashes clean by following the eye care routine
Keratitis : Minor corneal infections are commonly
treated with anti-bacterial or anti-fungal eye drops. If the
problem is more severe, a person may receive more intensive
antibiotic treatment to eliminate the infection and may need to
take steroid eye drops to reduce inflammation.
Blephamide is one specific type of steroid eye drop which
some sufferers have had some success with. Use of these types of
drops require careful monitoring by a physician. It is usually
suggested that this product be used daily for between 3 days
& 1 week followed by a break (or tapered use) for the next 3
- 4 weeks. (Blephamide is also available as an ointment.)
Antibiotics from the tetracycline
family such as doxycycline and minocycline are often
prescribed to bring symptoms of ocular rosacea under
control. Studies of the use of doxycycline by patients
with ocular rosacea showed significant improvement with a
variety of signs/symptoms including dryness, itching, blurred
vision and photosensitivity, scales,
erythema and telangiectasia (Quarterman 1997)
For dry eyes, some rosacea sufferers use Celluvisc Eye drops
found at drug stores or grocery stores.
They are much thicker than the usual eye drops and can be used without taking out
contact lenses. Because of the thickness of the eye drops, they
may temporarily impair vision.
Starr PAH, McDonald A. Oculocutaneous
aspects of rosacea. Proc R Soc Med. 1969;62:9.
Borrie P. Rosacea with special
reference to its ocular manifestations. Br J Ophthalmol. 1953;65:458.
Browning DJ, Proia AD. Ocular Rosacea. Surv Ophthalmol.
Jenkins MA, Brown SI, Lempert SL, al. e. Ocular rosacea. Am
J Ophthalmol. 1979;88:618-622.
Quarterman MJ, et al. Ocular rosacea. Signs,
symptoms and tear studies before and after treatment with
doxycycline. Arch Dermatol 1997;133:49-54.