Ocular rosacea signs and symptoms may include itching, burning and stinging; inflamed eyelids and styes; red or bloodshot eyes; a gritty feeling; and visible blood vessels on the eyelids or whites of the eyes. The meibomian glands, which secrete an oil that helps tears keep the eye moistened, may become clogged, causing tears to break down faster and leading to dry eye. As the condition worsens the cornea may become damaged, leading to loss of visual acuity.
Although many rosacea patients may only experience minor eye symptoms, it’s important to discuss what you’re experiencing with your dermatologist and eye doctor to determine the best treatment regimen. Here are some tips to help ease the discomfort and potentially avoid the signs and symptoms associated with ocular rosacea.
Avoid sun and wind. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and UV-rated sunglasses can protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful effects, as well as shield them from wind and other environmental factors.
Practice lid hygiene. Many ophthalmologists recommend a gentle daily eyelash cleansing with a tearless baby shampoo or lid scrub on a damp washcloth. Applying warm compresses and gently massaging the eyelids will help loosen any debris in the tear glands and stimulate circulation.
Consider artificial tears. Your tear ducts or meibomian glands may occasionally become blocked, resulting in dry, irritated eyes. Artificial tears, available at most drugstores, help to moisturize the eye surface.
Use your medication. Be sure to follow your doctor’s orders regarding long-term medical therapy. If your symptoms persist or worsen, you may need to see an eye specialist.