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How Dangerous Is Ocular Rosacea & Is It Contagious?

Ocular rosacea is a chronic disease of the eye characterized by redness, burning, and itching. It appears in almost 50 % of the cases with skin rosacea. It often manifests itself as the initial symptoms long before the skin symptoms may appear. It usually affects middle-aged people between 30-50 years. It has a tendency to affect people who blush easily. It also reoccurs quickly. Its exact cause is not clear. Its risk factors involve hot or spicy food, alcohol consumption, exposure to sunlight, air or temperature differences, exercises, hot baths, etc.

How Dangerous Is Ocular Rosacea & Is It Contagious?

How Dangerous Is Ocular Rosacea & Is It Contagious?

People with skin rosacea are often unaware of the fact that it can also appear in their eyes. This is because dry eyes or irritation in the eyes are usually not overlooked as symptoms of skin rosacea. The symptoms of the eye are mistakenly believed that allergies or contact lenses are indicating these problems.(2)

Ocular rosacea is a common disease of eyes that appears in half of all people suffering from skin rosacea. It develops in adults who are in the age between 30 -50 years. It is more common in people who tend to blush and flush easily.(1) It can exhibit many eye complications, leading to the following symptoms:

  • Redness and swelling of the eyes and eyelids
  • Dryness in the eyes
  • Burning and stinging sensation
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Itching in the eyes
  • The frequent appearance of styes (pimple-like bumps on the eyelids)
  • Blurry vision or difficulty in vision
  • Watery secretion in the eyes
  • Photophobia or Increased sensitivity to light
  • Crust formation on the eyelids and eyelashes(1)

The symptoms of Ocular rosacea may be annoying, but it does not lead to severe or life-threatening damage. It often does not become worse in many cases. It usually exhibits symptoms such as itching, dryness, redness, or swelling in the eyes or eyelids. In severe cases, these symptoms may impair vision.(3)

Ocular rosacea initially begins with irritation and discomfort in the eyes and eyelids.(5) But, if it is left untreated, it can emerge as a severe condition that leads to damage in the cornea of the eye, thereby resulting in vision loss.(4)

Untreated cases of ocular rosacea show following complications such as-

Dryness In The Eye- It leads to dry eyes due to less production of the tears that would result in corneal complications.(1)

Corneal Damage- When it becomes severe, its symptoms may increase that may damage the cornea, resulting in the loss of clear vision.(5)

Rosacea Keratitis- Untreated, ocular rosacea sometimes causes a rare condition called rosacea keratitis, which can lead to blindness. (5)

Visual Problems- Corneal complications can cause visible symptoms like inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis) can contribute to secondary irritation in the cornea resulting in loss of vision.(1)

Skin Rosacea is not considered an infectious disease, as there is no scientific evidence that this disease cannot spread through contact with the skin or inhaling airborne bacteria. The effectiveness of antibiotics against rosacea symptoms is not due to bacterial infection, but it is believed to happening due to their anti-inflammatory effect on the skin.(6)

The exact cause of Ocular Rosacea is not understood completely. However, it is supposed that there is some link between “small intestinal bacterial organisms or SIBO” with this disease. Still, Ocular Rosacea is neither an infectious nor communicable disease.(7)


Ocular rosacea can become a dangerous condition if it is left untreated or neglected. It may cause corneal damage, dryness in eyes, vision loss, and others discussed above, if it is not treated. This disease is not contagious or infectious.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 9, 2022

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