Ocular rosacea



What is ocular rosacea?

Ocular rosacea is inflammation that causes redness, burning and itching of the eyes. It often develops in people who have rosacea, a chronic skin condition that affects the face. Sometimes ocular, or eye, rosacea is the first sign that you may later develop the facial type.

How common is ocular rosacea?

Ocular rosacea primarily affects adults between the ages of 30 and 50. It seems to develop in people who tend to blush and flush easily. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of ocular rosacea?

The common symptoms of ocular rosacea are:

  • Dry eyes
  • Burning or stinging in the eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Grittiness or feeling of having a foreign body in the eye or eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Redness
  • Dilated small blood vessels on the white part of the eye that are visible when you look in a mirror
  • Red, swollen eyelids
  • Tearing

Signs and symptoms of ocular rosacea can precede the skin symptoms of rosacea, develop at the same time, develop later or occur on their own.

The severity of ocular rosacea symptoms don’t always match the severity of skin symptoms.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes ocular rosacea?

Scientists don’t know exactly why it happens, but researchers have found that 85% of people with ocular rosacea have blocked oil glands around the edges of their eyelids. These glands prevent dryness. If they are blocked, the area around them can swell and get irritated. This can lead to redness and itching in your eyes and crust in your eyelashes.

Some scientists believe mites — tiny spider-like creatures that live in hair follicles on your face and lashes — can block the glands. Others think there may be a link between rosacea and the bacteria that cause digestive infections. Another idea is that rosacea is caused by a problem with your blood vessels. Genes and your environment may play a part, too.

Fair-skinned people are more likely to have rosacea, and some women get it during menopause. It can’t be spread from person to person.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for ocular rosacea?

Ocular rosacea is common in people with rosacea, although you can also have eye rosacea without the skin being involved. Skin rosacea affects more women than men, and ocular rosacea affects men and women equally. Some studies suggest that among people with rosacea, those who blush easily may be more likely to also develop eye symptoms.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is ocular rosacea diagnosed?

Your doctor will take a close look at your face and eyes. Ophthalmologists often use a kind of microscope that shows the tiny blood vessels along the eyelid and any glands that might be plugged.

How is ocular rosacea treated?

Ocular rosacea can usually be controlled with medication and home eye care. But these steps don’t cure the condition, which often remains chronic or recurs after an apparent remission.

Your doctor may prescribe temporary use of oral antibiotics, such as tetracycline, doxycycline, erythromycin and minocycline. For severe disease, you may need to take an antibiotic for a longer time.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage ocular rosacea?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with ocular rosacea:

  • Keep your eyelids clean by gently washing them at least twice a day with warm water or a product your doctor recommends.
  • Avoid makeup if your eyes are inflamed. When you’re able to wear makeup, choose types that are nonoily (noncomedogenic) and free of fragrance.
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses during flare-ups, especially if your symptoms include dry eyes.
  • Prevent flare-ups by avoiding things that trigger or worsen your rosacea or ocular rosacea, if possible. Items that tend to dilate blood vessels in the face include hot, spicy foods and alcoholic beverages.
  • Use artificial tears to relieve dryness. Ask your doctor for guidance.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: November 23, 2017 | Last Modified: November 24, 2017

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