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What is Ocular Rosacea & How To Treat It?

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A woman's red eye compared to a healthy, clear eye

Are your eyes red and itchy? Do you notice red lines or spots in the white part of your eyes? Is your vision blurred? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be experiencing ocular rosacea

You may have heard of rosacea, a skin disease that causes redness and bumps on your skin, but did you know that rosacea can affect your eyes too?

While there’s no cure for ocular rosacea, our team at Daniel Island Eye Care is here to help you manage your symptoms and keep your vision on track. If you think you might have ocular rosacea, book an appointment with us today so we can get you started on a customized treatment plan tailored to you.

Until then, keep reading to learn more about this condition, how it’s treated, and what you can do at home to prevent future outbreaks.

What is Ocular Rosacea?

Ocular rosacea is an eye disease that causes inflammation, redness, or burning in the eyes. It often develops in people who have rosacea, but anyone can develop this condition. 

When Should I See My Doctor?

Ocular rosacea typically affects adults between the ages of 30 and 50, but can affect anyone at any age. If you have ocular rosacea you may notice a variety of signs and symptoms, including:

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s important to book an appointment with your eye doctor to get your eyes examined. Additionally, if you’ve been diagnosed with skin rosacea, you should ask your doctor whether you should undergo more frequent eye exams to check for ocular rosacea.

A girl rubbing her eyes due to itchiness and redness

What Causes Ocular Rosacea? 

The exact cause of ocular rosacea, like skin rosacea, is unknown, but it has been linked to a number of factors, including: 

  • Environmental factors, such as sunlight, wind, or temperature extremes
  • Bacterial involvement
  • Blocked glands in the eyelids
  • Eyelash mites
  • Hot or spicy foods or beverages
  • Alcohol
  • Certain emotions, such as stress, anger or embarrassment
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Hot baths or saunas

Additional Risk Factors

While there are many potential causes for ocular rosacea, you may be at an increased risk of developing this condition if:

  • You have skin rosacea 
  • You have fair skin that burns easily 
  • You have a family history of rosacea 

How is Ocular Rosacea Diagnosed?

If you think you have ocular rosacea, book an appointment with your optometrist. During an eye exam, your doctor can assess your eye health and perform a series of tests to better understand your symptoms. 

To ensure your optometrist has the opportunity to completely understand your symptoms it;s best to prepare yourself to answer the following questions:

  • What symptoms are you experiencing? This can include any symptoms, even if they seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment
  • What is your vision treatment history?
  • Does your family have any history of ocular rosacea or skin rosacea? 
  • Have you experienced any major life changes or stresses?
  • What medications, vitamins and supplements are you currently taking? 

How is Ocular Rosacea Treated?

While ocular rosacea is chronic and can’t be cured, symptoms can usually be controlled with medication, in-office treatments, and home eye care. 

Depending on the results of your eye exam, your optometrist may prescribe antibiotics and can recommend things you can do at home to manage your symptoms and prevent future outbreaks. This can include:

  • Keeping your eyelids clean and following a good eye care routine 
  • Avoiding makeup if your eyes are inflamed or irritated
  • Avoiding wearing contact lenses during flare-ups, especially if your symptoms include dry eyes
  • Keeping track of the factors that trigger or worsen your ocular rosacea, and avoiding them when necessary
  • Using artificial tears to relieve dryness

We’re Here to Help You

At Daniel Island Eye Care, your eye health and vision is our number one priority. 

Our team is always here to help you, so if you ever have any questions or concerns please feel free to get in touch with us!

Dr. Turner

Written by Dr. Charles J. Turner, OD

Dr. Turner is extremely proud to be Daniel Island’s first optometrist, a distinction that has brought him great respect throughout the community. As a therapeutically licensed optometrist, Dr. Turner provides his patients with multifaceted care.

His practice has a unique approach thanks to his diverse blend of experience. He completed internships at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, MS, Montrose Veterans Hospital in Montrose, NY, and Huntington Veterans Hospital in Huntington, WV. These experiences have given Dr. Turner the confidence and ability to treat eyes of all ages and stages. Dr. Turner graduated with a BS in biology from Virginia Tech and received his Doctor of Optometry degree from Indiana University School of Optometry in Bloomington, IN.

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