What is Ocular Rosacea?
Everyone has probably heard the term ‘rosacea' at least once or twice in his or her lives. Rosacea, in this case, is one that deals with the face; however, most people don't know the term can also apply to a condition which targets the eyes. Burning, itching, and redness could sometimes be symptoms of ocular rosacea.
This condition is a type of inflammation which typically corresponds with chronic skin rosacea. In certain instances itchy, red eyes are the initial sign that an individual has ocular rosacea.
Whilst there isn’t a cure available for rosacea, great eye care and eyelid hygiene practices could help manage it and reduce the symptoms.
What causes Ocular Rosacea?
Ocular rosacea is typically caused by environmental and genetic factors. The majority of the causes below could also exacerbate ocular rosacea.
Ocular rosacea triggers
- Spicy foods
- Hot caffeinated drinks
- Extremely cold or hot temperatures
- Anger and stress
- UV sunlight
- Vigorous exercise
- Saunas or hot baths
- Poor eating habits (processed foods, low vegetable intake)
- Poor hygiene
Ocular rosacea symptoms and signs
A glaring redness around the eye is the initial symptom associated with ocular rosacea. People with ocular rosacea might notice a dilation of blood vessels in their eyes and on the surface of their eyelids, causing them to become extremely visible. This condition could also make the eyes itchy and dry.
Burning and stinging of the eyes are common. Whilst discomfort, dry eyes, and cosmetic defects are some of the ocular rosacea’s most widespread symptoms, the condition sometimes affects vision due to dry eyes. Sufferers might have blurred vision or increased sensitivity to light. Ocular rosacea is also capable of causing the eyelids to swell, and it can lead to meibomian gland dysfunction due to insufficient oil glands.
Other symptoms of ocular rosacea include grittiness or foreign body sensation in the eyes, tearing, and stinging eyes.
How is ocular rosacea diagnosed?
It is not necessarily a given that facial rosacea sufferers are going to develop ocular rosacea. Whilst these conditions have similarities, how severe they get is independent of each other. Nevertheless, should any of the symptoms associated with ocular rosacea manifest, especially swollen eyelids, blurred vision, redness or sore eyes, it is imperative to schedule an appointment with an optometrist. The optometrist is able to have a look at your eyes and offer a diagnosis.
Ocular Rosacea natural treatment and cure
Ocular rosacea can be managed by keeping to a strict eye care routine. This routine should be kept up even when the condition seems to clear up. This aids in the prevention of flare-ups. The tips below can also be used to help manage the condition:
- Wash face and eyelid area with an all natural, tea tree oil based soap. This will help with soothing the redness and itching as opposed to chemically ridden soaps. Tea tree oil is also great for demodex eyelid mites, which are common in those with ocular rosacea and rosacea in general.
- Ensure eyelids are cleaned twice in a day: a cotton round/ball should be sprayed with a hypochlorous acid eyelid cleanser, such as Heyedrate Lid and Lash Cleanser, and then moved across the eyelid to eradicate oil and debris from the area. Also, spray this hypochlorous acid eyelid cleanser on areas of rosacea on the skin to help alleviate symptoms.
- A warm compress should be applied: blocked glands can be loosened by applying a warm compress eye mask, such as that from Heyedrate, that has been microwaved for 20 seconds. Allow it to sit on closed eyes for 10 to 20 minutes, reheating as needed.
- Makeup should be avoided: the moment a flare-up happens, makeup should be avoided, as well as any facial products which consist of skin irritants like fragrances. The majority of people discover that the moment the flare-ups subside, they are able to begin using their regular makeup. Also use an all natural makeup remover, not the typical ones in stores that are filled with chemicals.
- Stick to glasses instead of contact lenses: the moment the eyes get irritated, contact lenses should be avoided. Once the episode subsides you can return to wearing contact lenses. Also consider switching to daily disposable contact lenses, which you throw away every day.
- Sun exposure should be limited: sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat should be used to limit exposure to sunlight. UV rays are a common rosacea trigger. It is also imperative to stay away from sun tanning beds.
- Consume omega-3 fatty acids: various studies have shown that flaxseed oil and fish oil consumption could help lower rosacea flare-ups. Certain grocery stores and health food outlets sell whole flaxseed, omega-3 supplement capsules or flaxseed oil. Check out the Heyedrate Omega-3 for Eye Health to get in your omegas!
- Make use of artificial tears: artificial tears can help alleviate the dryness in one’s eyes. Nevertheless, it is better to first consult an optometrist about the kind of eye drops to be used and the frequency of their use. These won’t necessary help with the treatment of your ocular rosacea, but may provide symptom relief for a few minutes to hours.
Best eye drops for treating Ocular Rosacea
It’s ideal to note that eye drops do not aid in treating the condition directly, but instead, they will help in symptom relief. Enhancing the hygiene of your eyelids will aid in relief and treatment of ocular rosacea more than eye drops will.
We recommend to our patients that they use a hypochlorous acid eyelid cleanser, which they spray on the eyelids twice daily, but can be used up to four times daily. This hypochlorous cleanser can also be applied to any other areas of rosacea for relief of itchy and red skin.
Here are a few hypochlorous acid eyelid cleansers:
Avenova - Available by prescription. Check price here on GoodRx.
Acuicyn - Available by prescription. Check price here on GoodRx.
Ocular rosacea diet
- Water: a lot of water should be drunk per day. This amount should be measured as it is specific to every individual, but usually half your bodyweight in ounces of water. Or just shoot for the typical eight glasses per day (we do 15).
- Fatty Acids: Fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which have unique anti-inflammatory properties. These fatty acids are present in fish oils, borage and black currant seed oil. Click here to shop Omega-3 supplements.
- Avoid spicy, hot foods: for numerous people, consuming spicy, hot food is capable of triggering ocular rosacea, so it is best to avoid eating these sorts of food.
- Limit alcohol consumption: Alcohol consumption should be limited, especially as it can be a potential ocular rosacea trigger. It is best to limit consumption to a couple drinks each week if consumption of alcohol triggers rosacea flare-ups.
The simple fact is there is NO CURE for the condition, even if there are remission periods as flare-ups might occur. It helps to know that even flare-ups happen; there are numerous varied remedies that can be applied to help ease the situation.
Drs. Travis and Jenna Zigler