What is Ocular Rosacea?
Ocular rosacea is an early symptom of rosacea that affects the eyes and eyelids. It is characterized by redness and irritation of the eyes. If you feel itching of your eyes, or there is something in the eye frequently and have redness of the nose, forehead, and cheeks as well, then you should consult your doctor for ocular rosacea. Ocular rosacea may be the indication that you may later develop rosacea of the facial type.
If you are middle-aged of age between 30 to 50, or you tend to blush and flush easily, then you are more likely to get the condition.
Some home based treatments like warm compresses and washing the area around the eye with lukewarm water, including the eyelids, can help relieve the symptoms. For severe condition, oral antibiotics, typically doxycycline, may be prescribed. But there is no complete treatment for ocular rosacea and the condition may recur with the course of time.
Symptoms of Ocular Rosacea
Symptoms of ocular rosacea can precede the symptoms of rosacea of skin type, or they may develop at the same time. Symptoms of ocular rosacea are as follows:
- Dryness of the eyes
- Burning or stinging sensation in the eyes
- Itching of the eyes
- Gritty eyes or feeling of having a foreign body in your eye or eyes
- Obscure vision
- Sensitive to light
- Redness of eyes
- Dilation of small blood vessels on the white part of the eye
- Swollen eyelids
Causes of Ocular Rosacea
Like the skin rosacea, the exact cause of ocular rosacea is unknown. Some factors may trigger the conditions. These are:
Immunological factors – Cathelicidins are the anti-microbial molecule produced by your innate immune system responsible for the body’s ability to fight against foreign bodies. Some research suggests that this protective substance may cause rosacea flare-ups due to the involvement of factors such as heat, exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet light and microorganisms such as Demodex folliculorum.
Micro-organisms on the skin surface – Bacteria may also cause ocular rosacea. Bacterial lipases may release toxic free fatty acids and glycerides from lipids secreted by meibomian glands that can cause inflammation.
Blocked glands in the eyelids – Blockage of meibomian glands lead to reduced tear film lipid layer, tear film instability and tear hyperosmolarity.
Eyelash mites – The normal inhabitants of eyelash follicles, Demodex mites may cause inflammation in ocular rosacea.
Environmental factors – Some other environmental factors may also aggravate rosacea and ocular rosacea. Some of these factors include:
- Hot or spicy foods or beverages
- Very hot or cold climate
- Strenuous exercise
- Medications like cortisone creams and drugs that dilate blood vessels
Treatment of Ocular Rosacea
Ocular rosacea can be controlled with simple eye care routine and medication. Antibiotics can be used if the home based treatments don’t work for you.
Hot compresses can relieve you from irtdigiritation as they flux the thick meibomian gland secretion. Mild cleaning solutions such as dilute baby shampoo or eyelid scrubs can be applied to the eyelids to clear the debris.
Artificial tears can frequently be used many times a day. They soothe the eyes as it lubricates the eyelids.
Your doctor may prescribe you oral antibiotics, such as tetracycline, doxycycline, erythromycin and minocycline if daily eye routine doesn’t seem to give you relief. For severe cases, you may need to take antibiotics for the longer time.