Schoolteachers are legendary for their "eagle eyes" — their uncanny ability to see a note being passed in the last row or a piece of chewing gum being placed surreptitiously in a student's mouth. So it was for Barbara Brown, a retired teacher from Virginia, until about four years ago when she began to experience severe eye irritation.
"It started with what I thought was an eye infection," Barbara said. "I got some ointment from my doctor, but it didn't get any better. He finally sent me to a specialist who diagnosed my problem as ocular rosacea."
The specialist prescribed eyedrops and artificial tears as well as oral therapy. He called it one of the worst cases he had ever seen, Barbara said, and she "muddled along" as best she could.
Then Barbara came across a tip in Rosacea Review that she said has made the biggest impact on her condition. She read an article describing management options for ocular rosacea, one of which was to wash the eyelids daily with baby shampoo and lukewarm water.
"I started using the shampoo to wash my eyes every morning, and you would not believe the improvement it made," Barbara said. Since that time, her physician was able to reduce her medication.
In addition to her medical therapy and cleansing routine, she is extremely careful when outside. Wind is a particular trigger, no matter if it is warm or cold, and she said she always wears sunglasses and usually a hat to block both sun and wind.
Barbara noticed in her mid 50s or 60s that her face became a little redder than it used to be, but no other symptoms of rosacea have become apparent since her rosacea diagnosis. In addition to medication, she has changed the shade of her foundation makeup to mask the redness.
Because Barbara does not have many of the more noticeable signs of rosacea, she usually does not get questions or comments about her condition. But she is not hesitant to talk about it with others — particularly those who think they might have ocular rosacea.
"I wouldn't mess with it," she said. "Go see a doctor to get some help."