Causes of Ocular Rosacea

Causes of Ocular Rosacea

Across the country, people struggle with the redness and burning of ocular rosacea, an inflammatory eye condition. This condition is related to facial rosacea, and may be an early sign that one will develop the facial type at some point in the future. There are many potential triggers that aggravate this condition, and numerous symptoms to watch out for. In this guide, we’ll go over common triggers that lead to flare-ups of ocular rosacea, helping you to avoid the burning and irritation associated with the condition.

What is Ocular Rosacea?

Ocular rosacea is an inflammatory condition that affects the eyes. The condition primarily affects adults between 30 and 50 years old, but may also affect older and younger individuals. It tends to affect men and women equally. For those that blush easily or have a flushed facial appearance, ocular rosacea is fairly common. As mentioned earlier, it is related to the facial version of the condition, but people with skin rosacea may never develop the eye condition. Ocular rosacea does not always lead to skin rosacea either.

Ocular rosacea is characterized by numerous signs and symptoms, including:

  • Burning or stinging sensations in the eyes
  • Eye redness
  • Visible dilation of small blood vessels in the whites of the eyes
  • Swollen, irritated eyelids
  • A feeling of grittiness in the eyes
  • Itching
  • Overproduction of tears
  • Blurred vision

Flare-ups of the condition may be mild, causing irritation and redness. In severe cases, however, the burning, itchiness, and blurred vision may be accompanied by light sensitivity, and left untreated can result in permanent vision loss.

What Triggers Flare-ups of Ocular Rosacea?

It is unknown what the underlying cause of rosacea is – either the skin or ocular versions. There may be several factors involved in the development of the condition, such as genetic predisposition, blocked glands in the eyelids, bacterial infection, and even mites living in the eyelashes.

People who struggle with this condition may discover that there are many factors that can cause flare-ups. Aggravating factors include:

  • Spicy foods and beverages
  • Hot (temperature) foods and beverages
  • Intense exercise
  • Environmental factors like wind and bright sunlight
  • Emotional factors like embarrassment, anger, or stress
  • Hot showers or baths
  • Certain medications, particularly those medications that dilate blood vessels

Avoiding these flare-up factors can help to control the condition. It is important to note, however, that there are many other potential risk factors, and avoidance may only minimize, but not eliminate, the irritation associated with ocular rosacea.

How is Ocular Rosacea Treated?

When a person experiences the redness and burning of ocular rosacea, he or she may seek medical attention. The caregiver will evaluate the symptoms and review the person’s medical and lifestyle histories; there are no specific diagnostic tests that pinpoint rosacea.

The condition can be controlled by medication, such as oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines. Medications do not cure the condition, however, and patients may experience flare-ups in the future. To reduce the symptoms associated with ocular rosacea, over the counter treatments that replace natural tears in the eyes may provide relief.  

Tips for managing the condition and its aggravating factors include:

  • Keeping the eyelids clean by washing them with warm water and a gentle cleanser.
  • Avoiding eye makeup, particularly when flare-ups occur.
  • Avoiding vision-correcting contact lenses during flare-ups.
  • Avoiding hot and spicy foods and beverages.
  • Shielding the eyes from wind and sun with UV-blocking sunglasses.

Learn about natural treatments for ocular rosacea.  

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