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The Link Between Rosacea and Your Eyes

August 19, 2015

When you see someone with Rosacea, the symptoms are clear—red nose and cheeks, little bumps on the skin, pimples, and tiny vessels. But take a closer look at their eyes; do they appear red and dry?

While the symptoms of Rosacea are easy to spot and pinpoint, many don’t know that their rosacea can be linked to their dry eyes—resulting in Ocular Rosacea.

For those with Ocular Rosacea, they have the common symptoms of dry eyes (redness, itchiness, and bloodshot eyes); due to the eyes being so dry, some develop scales on the edges of their eyelids along with crusting. Swollen eyelids and styes are common symptoms for those suffering from ocular rosacea, along with sensitivity to light.

60% of those with Rosacea suffer from Ocular Rosacea, and of that 60%, 85% of Ocular Rosacea patients suffer from meibomian gland dysfunction. Meibomian gland dysfunction is the plugging of the meibomian glands, located in the edge of the eyelid, so instead of these glands secreting a fatty substance to reduce dry eyes, these glands are blocked causing dry eyes, styes, and benign cysts known as chalazions.

Ocular Rosacea Treatment

If you’re suffering from dry eyes that are caused by Ocular Rosacea, we are proud to announce that with our recent Accredited Dry Eye Center featuring the TearLab Osmolarity System as well as the newest in chronic dry eye treatment, we can help resolve your dry eye issues. Instead of seeking out Dry Eye specialists in New York City, come to our Dry Eye Center located in East Hanover. Our Dry Eye Team is headed by our own specialist, Dr. Adrian W. Jachens.  Dr. Jachens is a board-certified, fellowship trained ophthalmologist specializing in Cornea and External Eye Diseases, specifically Ocular Rosacea. He has successfully treated many patients with Ocular Rosacea.

In our Dry Eye Center, Dr. Jachens will examine your eyes to determine if you have mild, moderate, or sever Ocular Rosacea. If you have mild Ocular Rosacea he may suggest anti-inflammatory eye drops, lubricating tear drops and gels, plus proper maintenance of lid hygiene. If you are diagnosed with moderate Ocular Rosacea you may be given Oracea/Doxycycline capsules along with the same treatment for mild Ocular Rosacea. For severe cases of Ocular Rosacea, Dr. Jachens will give the same treatments for mild and moderate Ocular Rosacea, but instead of a temporary prescription for Oracea/Doxycycline, you may be given a long-term treatment of Oracea/Doxycycline.

Other treatments for Ocular Rosacea are proper lid hygiene; using moist Q-tips to remove any debris, properly removing makeup and oil, and using water or diluted baby shampoo to cleanse your closed eyelids under warm water in the shower. Investing in a humidifier can help to reduce symptoms of dry eye, caused by Ocular Rosacea. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods and load up on foods high in Omega-3s.

Commonly used for dry eyes, punctal plugs can be used to “close the tear drainage ducts”. Punctal plugs are usually suggested for those who have tried prescription and non-prescription eye drops and have not had any relief. Some punctal plugs are dissolvable so the body will absorb these over time, and others are semi-permanent. In some cases a local anesthetic will be used to insert the plugs but most of the time none is needed.

The plugs are inserted in either the lower lids, upper lids, and in some cases in both. Some are inserted into the canaliculus, a tube-like passageway in the eye (canaliculi are tiny passageways in the tear ducts).

One treatment that has been around since 1997 Rosacea-Ltd IV; the ingredients used for this treatment are all natural—they are located in the eyes already. The Rosacea-Ltd IV is a tan disk that is applied to an affected area by sliding the disk over the wet, closed eyelid for half a second (called a “touch application”). There are proper steps to take before applying Rosacea-Ltd IV; you’ll need to drink the proper amount of water to hydrate and wash the skin surrounding the affected area (leave the skin wet). Then, apply the disk to the area.

If ocular rosacea is left untreated, it can lead to other vision health problems, such as corneal damage, blood vessels in the cornea, eye infections and ulcers; ultimately corneal ulcers can perforate the eye, causing serious damage.

If you have rosacea and are curious if your dry eyes are a result of ocular rosacea, it’s never too late to make an appointment with one of our eye care specialists today.

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