Everyone has heard of rosacea, the skin disease that makes your skin an unnatural shade of red. Well, did you know that there is a similar disease that affects the eyes?
What is Ocular Rosacea?
Ocular Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the eye. While it’s possible to become diagnosed at any age, the majority of people are affected are between the ages of 30 and 60 years old; they are also more likely to be fair-skinned. It is equally as common between men and women and you’d be surprised just how common it is—if affects over 8 million Americans!
How do I get Ocular Rosacea?
Not to worry—ocular rosacea isn’t contagious and you can’t catch it from coming in contact with someone who has the disease. It is genetic and so it runs in your family. Check with your family members to learn about the history of optical health in the family.
If you have ocular rosacea, then certain environmental factors can make things worse. The environmental factors that can effect things are: sun exposure, alcohol, caffeine, stress, emotional distress, spicy food, and extreme temperature changes.
Are there different levels of Ocular Rosacea?
Yes, there are 3 levels to this disease: mild, moderate, and severe.
How do I treat the different levels of Ocular Rosacea?
Depending on the severity of the disease when diagnosed, there are different treatments available. Please read below to find the treatment options for each level of severity.
Mild: If you have mild ocular rosacea, then you are effected with inflammation of eyelid skin, and oil glands of the eyelids. You may also experience some redness of the eyelids and the surrounding skin. To treat this level of ocular rosacea, your optician should prescribe anti-inflammatory eye drops and lubricating tear drops or gels. You wlll also have to perform maintenance treatment.
Moderate: If you have this level of ocular rosacea, then you will experience dry eyes, redness and a possible gritty eye feeling. Other possibilities are an affected cornea, reoccurring sties and infections. To treat this level of ocular rosacea, your optician should prescribe anti-inflammatory eye drops, lubricating drops orgels and oracea/doxycycline capsules. You will also have to perform maintenance treatment.
Severe: This is the most serious and severe form of ocular rosacea. If you have this level of ocular rosacea, you will experience discomfort. There is the possibility of suffering long-term damage to the cornea, eye surface, and/or eyelids. To treat this level of ocular rosacea, your optician should prescribe anti-inflammatory drops, lubricating drops or gels, and a long-term treatment with oracea/doxycycline capsules. You will also have to perform maintenance treatment.
What is Maintenance Treatment?
There are a few staple practices to learn and know in order to maintain your eye health if you suffer from ocular rosacea, no matter the level of severity. In order to perform maintenance treatment, it is suggested that you take a regular dosage of Omega 3 capsules, maintain a good level of eyelid hygiene, and avoid environmental exposures. These environmental exposures are things we mentioned earlier but in case you forgot, they are caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and extreme temperatures; it is also a good idea if you avoid putting yourself in situations which are stress-inducing.
We know, we know. Out of all the things you learned growing up, eyelid hygiene wasn’t one of them. Since we keep mentioning it and how important it is, we’re happy to explain how to keep your eyelids clean.
It’s simple really. Run warm water over your eyelids for 30 seconds. Being careful to not get any in your eyes, use an anti-dandruff shampoo to clean your eyelids and eyelashes. Rinse. (No need to repeat.)
Who do I call?
If you’re interested in getting your eyes checked to see whether or not you have ocular rosacea and if so, get the correct treatment, then please feel free to reach out to Dr. Silverman for a consultation.