Ocular Rosacea is a Chronic Condition
Rosacea is a chronic condition effecting the skin on the face, and over half of the people who contract rosacea will eventually show signs of ocular rosacea. In women rosacea tend to manifest as flushed cheeks while men are more prone to a red nose.
Ocular rosacea is a chronic condition that currently effects over 15 million Americans. It is more common in woman and tends to start the age of 40 to 70. While treatments are available, there is no cure for ocular rosacea. While the cause is not known, recent research has indicated there may be an association with Demodex mites.between
Symptoms of Ocular Rosacea
Symptoms of ocular rosacea include red eyes, red and swollen eyelids, burning and stinging, gritty feeling in the eyes, and increased tearing. Even though there is increased tearing at times, it is often the cause of dry eyes and dry eye syndrome. One of the things your eye doctor sees with rosacea is meibomitis, an inflammation and plugging up of the meibobian glands that line the edge of the eyelid margins. These glands secrete the oily (lipid) layer of the tear film. Since the oil prevents the evaporation of the tears, when it is lacking the eyes dry out resulting in burning and stinging sensations. The poor lipid flow can also result in styes and chalazions (both of which result in a swollen bump on or under the eyelid).
Four Ways To Help Lessen Ocular Rosacea Symptoms
If you are afflicted by ocular rosacea there are four things you can do to help lessen the frequency of recurrences:
1. Pay attention to things that trigger attacks. Keep a journal and record what seems to be the most common triggers. Frequently reported triggers are:
-hot foods or beverages
-alcohol (some patients report doing OK with white wine but not red)
2. Limit sun exposure. Sun exposure is reportedly the most common trigger for rosacea outbreaks:
-Use sunscreen that has active ingredients of zinc or titanium dioxide instead of harsher chemically based sunscreens
-Avoid being out in the middle of the day, run errands before 10:00in the morning or after 4:00 in the afternoon.
-Wear quality sunwear in larger frames and use a wide brimmed hat
3. Avoid harsh substances on your skin:
-parabens- parabens are used to prolong the life of cosmetics. Check the labeling for methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, or butylparaben.
-Oil based makeup foundation
-Waterproof makeup (may require harsh chemicals and rubbing to remove)
-Numerous other so called “natural substances” like cinnamon, lavender,clove and others may be problematic.
-Chemical skin peels
4. De-stress your life. Stress is a known risk factor for rosacea. Take time off, take up meditation, seek stress management therapy-whatever calms you down!
Ocular rosacea does not have to control your life. Take the necessary steps to gain the upper hand and your life will (and eyes) will improve. To schedule an appointment with our Fort Collins Optometrist call (970) 226-0959