Eye symptoms are common in rosacea patients and eye dryness is an early sign of subtype 4 (ocular) rosacea, according to a study published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.1
Noting that the prevalence of eye involvement in rosacea is probably higher than often presumed, Dr. E. Lazaridou and colleagues of the Aristotle University Medical School, Thessalonika, Greece, examined 100 rosacea patients for ocular signs and symptoms using two tests to determine the presence of eye dryness.
The researchers found ocular symptoms in 33 of the patients, including a burning sensation and tearing, bloodshot eyes and blepharitis (swollen eyelids). In addition to ocular rosacea, 11 of these patients had subtype 1 (erythematotelangiectatic) rosacea, 17 had subtype 2 (papulopustular) rosacea and four exhibited subtype 3 (phymatous) rosacea.
In 24 of the rosacea patients and 24 patients without rosacea, the Schirmer test was used to determine whether the eye produces enough tears to keep it moist. Additionally, the tear break-up time (TBUT), the time required for dry spots to appear on the eye’s surface while the patient avoids blinking, was performed in each eye. The rosacea patients’ Schirmer test results were significantly lower compared with healthy control subjects, and the average TBUT was also shorter.
The researchers concluded that the Schirmer and TBUT tests could be useful in screening and early diagnosis of rosacea to prevent the potential development of sight-threatening conditions.
1. Lazaridou E, Fotiadou C, Ziakas N, et al. Clinical and laboratory study of ocular rosacea in northern Greece. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2011;Mar 2. doi:10.1111/j.1468-3083.2011.03995.x.
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