Ocular rosacea (roe-ZAY-she-uh) is inflammation of the eye that occurs as a result of rosacea, a chronic, inflammatory condition that affects the skin on your face, nose and forehead. Many people with skin rosacea develop ocular rosacea, usually in combination with skin symptoms, but occasionally ocular rosacea occurs by itself.
Ocular rosacea primarily affects adults between the ages of 30 and 60. Ocular rosacea is more common in people with fair skin and light hair and eye color.
Even if you have skin rosacea, you may not realize that your ocular rosacea symptoms, such as dry eyes, are connected to the condition. So it's a good idea to have your eyes checked by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist). There's no cure for ocular rosacea, and left untreated, it tends to get worse. There are medications to help you manage the condition.
Estimates indicate that as many as 50 percent of people with skin rosacea have ocular rosacea symptoms. Signs and symptoms of ocular rosacea can precede skin symptoms, develop at the same time, develop later or occur on their own. Signs and symptoms of ocular rosacea may include:
When to see a doctor
If you've been diagnosed with skin rosacea, ask your doctor whether you should undergo periodic eye exams to check for ocular rosacea.
The cause of ocular rosacea, like skin rosacea, is unknown, but it may be due to a combination of hereditary and environmental factors.
A number of factors can aggravate rosacea, so they can aggravate ocular rosacea, as well. Some of these factors include:
Anyone who has skin rosacea can develop ocular rosacea. There's even some suspicion that children who develop styes — red, painful lumps near the edges of the eye — may have an early indication of ocular rosacea. Although skin rosacea affects more women than men, ocular rosacea affects men and women equally. Among people who have skin rosacea, there's no way to tell who will develop eye symptoms. However, you may be more likely to develop skin rosacea if you:
Left untreated, ocular rosacea may affect the surface of your eye (cornea), particularly when you have dry eyes from a deficiency of tears. Inflammation of your eyelids (blepharitis) can cause secondary irritation of the cornea from misdirected eyelashes or other complications. Ultimately, these conditions can lead to vision loss.
Preparing for your appointment
If you have signs and symptoms of ocular rosacea, you're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, in many cases you may be referred immediately to an ophthalmologist.
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment.
What you can do
Preparing a list of questions for your doctor can help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important. For ocular rosacea, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions that arise during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Tests and diagnosis
There are no specific tests or procedures for diagnosing ocular rosacea. Instead, your doctor will likely make a diagnosis by:
Treatments and drugs
The goal of therapy for ocular rosacea is to manage the condition. There is no cure.
Lifestyle and home remedies
To manage your ocular rosacea, the following may bring some symptom relief:
There's no way to prevent ocular rosacea, but you can take steps to control your symptoms.
Last Updated: 2010-04-28
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