Ocular Rosacea

Submitted by kaelynchang on Mon, 02/27/2023 - 16:47

As a condition that affects the facial skin, rosacea causes inflammation, burning, redness, and itchiness. This condition can be the result of an overactive immune system, genetics, or environmental factors. Unfortunately, this condition can act on the eyes as well, due to their vital role as a central part of the facial area.

When rosacea impacts the eyes, it is called ocular rosacea. Ocular rosacea is characterized by eye inflammation, eye redness, and feeling like there is something in your eye. These symptoms are very similar to the common symptoms demonstrated in rosacea of the skin.

Below is a list of common symptoms associated with ocular rosacea:

Blepharitis: red, itchy, crusty, and irritated eyes

Conjunctivitis: when the white portion of the eye becomes pink or red

Inflammation of Meibomian Glands: when the large sebaceous glands of the eyelids become swollen and painful

Interpalpebral Conjunctival Hyperemia: dilation of the blood vessels in the eye

Conjunctival Telangiectasis: dilation of the small blood vessels near the surface of the mucous membranes that cover the front of the eye

Most individuals affected with ocular rosacea are between the ages of 30 and 50, are women, and have light or fair skin. While it is a rare condition, with only 5-10% of people in the world affected, this low prevalence may be the result of mild rosacea cases not being properly diagnosed. Many individuals with rosacea are unaware that their eyes are being affected by the condition as well, as the symptoms are synonymous with irritated eyes related to allergies. 

Currently, the most preferred method of treatment for ocular rosacea includes the use of oral antibiotics to fight off any pathogens that may be triggering the infectious symptoms. For any inflammation that one may be experiencing, steroid eye drops and ointments may be prescribed to decrease the amount of swelling.

It is important to recognize that ocular rosacea is a long-lasting disease, and it does not have a direct cure. Monitoring symptoms and discovering which treatments are effective for an individual may allow them to have a bit of control over the negative impact ocular rosacea has on their lives.

To discover more about how ocular rosacea is caused in humans, read this study performed by a team of scientists in France: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8131178/