An Eye Condition
As its name, of course, implies, ocular rosacea occurs when the condition affects the eyes. At least half of the people with rosacea eventually develop ocular rosacea. Sometimes the symptoms of ocular rosacea are noticed first, but usually it’s the other way around: your skin shows symptoms of rosacea before your eyes do.
Symptoms of ocular rosacea include inflamed eyelids (blepharitis). Your eyelids may appear scaly and crusty, and your eyes themselves may itch and burn. Sties may form, and your eyelashes may fall out. The meibomian gland (which lubricates the eyelids) often becomes inflamed or plugged, resulting in dry eyes — a development that leaves your eyes more susceptible to bacterial infections.
In addition, the blood vessels in your eyes may become dilated (enlarged) and inflamed, as can your iris (a condition known as iritis). As a result, you may develop a sensitivity to light, and your eyesight may become blurry.
One of the more serious eye conditions related to rosacea is keratitis, an inflammation and/or infection of the cornea. This is a serious condition that can lead to permanent eye damage and vision loss if not treated.
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One of the keys to controlling ocular rosacea is to keep your eyes and eyelids clean. Your physician will advise you on how to wash your eyes in clean, warm water with diluted baby shampoo or some other gentle soap-like product. A warm compress can also help.
You may be advised to use artificial tear products to maintain moisture in your eyes. Drinking plenty of water and using a humidifier may also help you keep your eyes hydrated.
Your physician may prescribe an oral antibiotic and/or steroid eye drops to reduce inflammation.
For the treatment of ocular rosacea, you should be under the care of both a skin specialist and an eye doctor.
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