Ocular rosacea is an inflammatory eye condition that is characterized by redness, burning and itching of the eyes. Although, it is mostly noticed in people having normal rosacea affecting the face, however, it can also happen as a predecessor or simultaneously alongside of skin rosacea. Also known as subtype IV rosacea, it is usually noticed in people within the age group of 30 to 50 and mostly witnessed in people who tend to blush and flush easily. Women are more likely to get skin rosacea, but the ocular version appears equally in both men and women who are diagnosed with rosacea.
There are no specific medications for ocular rosacea, but a good eye care routine and prescribed medications can help subside the underlying symptoms vastly.
Just like rosacea, the exact cause of ocular rosacea is yet to be discovered. However, scientific studies and researches suggest that it can be linked to the below-mentioned factors. The primary factors include:
- Involvement of bacteria
- Blocked glands in the eyelids
- Eyelash mites
- Environmental factors
Some factors that might lead to sudden flare-ups of skin rosacea can contribute to ocular rosacea as well. These include:
- Hot baths or saunas
- Spicy foods
- Hot beverages and alcoholic drinks
- Foods like caffeine, chocolate, cheese
- Emotions like stress, embarrassment, or anger
- Certain medications including cortisone creams and the ones that dilate blood vessels
- Strenuous exercise
- Intense exposure to sunlight, wind, or temperature
Certain factors that increase the chances of having ocular rosacea include:
Age: People within the age of 30 to 50 are more at risk of developing ocular rosacea.
Gender: Women are more prone to ocular rosacea than men.
Conditions: Suffering from skin rosacea increases the chances of person to develop its subtype IV as well.
Skin Colour: Fair skinned people have aggravated chances of getting ocular rosacea than dark skin-toned people.
The primary symptoms of ocular rosacea may develop before, later or sometimes even simultaneously alongside skin rosacea. The common signs and symptoms include:
- Red, burning, or itching sensation in the eyes
- Bloodshot eyes
- Continuous watering from the eyes
- Dry eyes
- Grittiness or the feeling of having a foreign particle in the eye or eyes
- Blurred vision
- Crust on eyelids or eyelashes
- Dilated small blood vessels on the white part of the eye that are visible when you look in a mirror
- Red, swollen eyelids
- Recurrent eye or eyelid infections, such as pink eye (conjunctivitis), blepharitis, styes or chalazia
- Blocked and inflamed glands
- Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
The symptoms of ocular rosacea may be severe than skin rosacea and hence requires prompt treatment. If it is not treated on time, it can cause corneal complications that can often lead to vision loss.
Diagnosis And Treatment
On noticing the above-mentioned signs and symptoms, do consult an ophthalmologist at the earliest to get diagnosed and treated soon. The doctor usually does a thorough physical checkup by analyzing the eyes and eyelids, acknowledges the patients past medical history and sometimes may use a microscope to zoom in on blood vessels and glands. Since, skin rosacea and ocular rosacea often go hand in hand, so if you are already suffering from the latter, go for regular eye examinations and get tear functions tests done to detect ocular rosacea in the earlier stages.
Although there is no specific treatment for ocular rosacea, the doctor usually manages the symptoms by prescribing antibiotics and asking the patient for taking good eye care right at home.
Home Care For Ocular Rosacea
- Ensure you clean your eyelids by gently washing them at least twice a day with warm water or a product suggested by the doctor
- Avoid makeup if your eyes are already inflamed.
- Avoid wearing contact lenses during flare-ups.
- Try to stay away from foods and beverages that can cause sudden eye flare-up and inflammation.
- Use of artificial tears to relieve dry eyes.