The term rosacea comes from the Latin name for redness. Rosacea is an inflammatory skin disease that causes the blood vessels to widen, causing a corresponding reddening. It affects the face and is expressed thereby large, red, scaly and sensitive areas on the cheeks, forehead, and chin. Rosacea is not a rare disease and is quite common. When it affects the eyes, it is referred to as ocular rosacea.(1)
Is Ocular Rosacea The Same As Blepharitis?
Difference between ocular rosacea and blepharitis:
Blepharitis causes redness, swelling, and itching of the eyelids. The disease is usually not severe but can cause other problems such as dry eyes, cysts, and conjunctivitis, especially if left untreated.
Dandruff and bacterial infection (such as Staphylococcus) are the two frequent reasons behind blepharitis. The posterior inflammation of the eyelid effects the inside wet part of the eyelid that comes in direct contact with the inner part of the eye. The inflammation happens due to blockage of the meibomian glands or the oil glands of this area.
Blepharitis and dry eye often occur at the same time, whether it is caused by dry eye disease or dry eye disease caused by eyelid inflammation. Blepharitis is also often associated with skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, dandruff, and psoriasis. Usually, blepharitis and pink eye disease occur at the same time.
So, these two diseases are not the same and are two different diseases occurring due to different reasons.(1)(3)
Can Ocular Rosacea Spread From One Person To Another?
People with fair skin are more susceptible to rosacea, and some women have rosacea during menopause. However, it cannot spread from one person to another. So, there is no chance of getting the disease when in close contact with an affected person.(4)
How Does Rosacea Develop?
Rosacea can also involve the eyes; this is called ocular rosacea. There are different forms of the course, where only the skin, only the eyes or both can be affected. The exact causes of rosacea are unknown, but genetic factors may play a role.
Possible triggers are:
- Certain medications (especially those that dilate blood vessels)
- Environmental influences such as heat, cold or wind
- Food such as cheese or alcoholic beverages
- Infections (e.g. Helicobacter pylori infection of the stomach)
- Psychological factors
- Skin irritating lotions or make-up
- Sporting activity(1)(2)
How Exactly Does Ocular Rosacea Express?
The typical symptom of rosacea usually starts with altered skin areas, which appear primarily in the central parts of the face (nose and cheeks). The region of the forehead and chin are also preferred places of manifestation. The cutout of the mouth (perioral) and eye area (periocular) is typical and also important for clinical diagnosis. A preliminary stage of rosacea is volatile (transient) erythema, which occurs in seizures. Patients with rosacea often complain of burning and stinging in the affected areas of the skin.
Patients with ocular rosacea often complain of a foreign body sensation in the eye, as well as swollen eyelids and increased sensitivity to light. Visibly dilated blood vessels in the area of the eyelid margin and conjunctiva also indicate eye rosacea. Many patients also suffer from reduced tear production, which manifests itself as a dry eye. In some cases, rosacea occurs only in the eye and not on the skin.(5)
How Can Ocular Rosacea Be Treated?
If you think you suffer from ocular rosacea, you should first consult your eye specialist or dermatologist. He can make a reliable diagnosis and initiate suitable therapy so that the eye problems improve significantly. For example, certain antibiotics have proven effective in treating eye rosacea.(5)
What Should You Pay Attention To While Taking Care Of An Affected Person?
Of course, daily cleaning of the eyelid is advisable, since it promotes healing. The patient can carefully remove deposits and secretions with a damp cotton swab. It is important to know that the recurring inflammation of the cornea leads to scarring and thus visual impairment. It is accordingly important to contact a dermatologist in good time if there is inflammation in the eye area, who may work with a specialized ophthalmologist.
- Vieira AC, Mannis MJ. Ocular rosacea: common and commonly missed. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2013;69(6):S36-S41.
- Vieira ACC, Höfling-Lima AL, Mannis MJ. Ocular rosacea: a review. Arquivos brasileiros de oftalmologia. 2012;75(5):363-369.
- Bernardes TF, Bonfioli AA. Blepharitis. Paper presented at: Seminars in ophthalmology2010.
- Oltz M, Check J. Rosacea and its ocular manifestations. Optometry-Journal of the American Optometric Association. 2011;82(2):92-103.
- Arman A, Demirseren DD, Takmaz T. Treatment of ocular rosacea: comparative study of topical cyclosporine and oral doxycycline. International journal of ophthalmology. 2015;8(3):544.