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What are the Different Types of Ocular Rosacea Treatment?

By H. Colledge
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Ocular rosacea is an eye disease which typically causes eye inflammation, redness, dryness and infection. More than half of the cases are associated with the skin disease known as rosacea, which causes areas of the nose, cheeks and forehead to become red, spotty and thickened. Different types of ocular rosacea treatment may be needed depending on the severity of the condition. For milder cases, artificial tears often can relieve eye dryness; lid hygiene also can be helpful, which involves applying hot compresses to the eyelids. In more severe disease, antibiotics and steroids normally are used, and for extreme cases, surgery may be necessary in order to preserve vision.

Although it is not known exactly what causes rosacea and ocular rosacea, any factors which lead to skin flushing can aggravate symptoms. As a general ocular rosacea treatment, it may be beneficial to avoid anything which tends to trigger such flushing. The list of typical causes includes emotional stress, activities that raise body temperature, alcohol, spicy foods, hot drinks and tobacco. In people who have rosacea affecting both the skin and eyes, controlling the skin condition often can improve eye symptoms as well. As the sun can worsen rosacea, sunscreen use is important, as is covering the skin when outdoors.

Ocular rosacea treatment may not be needed at all if eye symptoms are very mild. If the eyelids are inflamed, lid hygiene may be a suitable remedy. Lid hygiene involves cleaning the eyelids using a mild cleansing solution, and applying hot compresses. This helps to unblock the tiny glands in the eyelids which produce oil. The glands become plugged due to thickening of their oily secretions, and this causes eye dryness, as the oil is needed to stop tears from evaporating from the surface of the eye.

If dryness of the eyes becomes a problem, ocular rosacea treatment will usually involve the use of artificial tears. These are usually added to the eyes several times a day. In addition, an ointment may be applied to lubricate the eyes overnight.

In cases in which eye symptoms are becoming worse, ocular rosacea treatment with antibiotics may be recommended. Tetracyclines are the most commonly used drugs, and a course of several weeks is normally required. Topical steroids, which are applied to the skin, are sometimes helpful, but they can only be used for short periods to prevent damage to the surface of the eye, or cornea.

Ocular rosacea treatment may involve surgery if the disease is threatening to damage the cornea, causing ulcers or holes. Corneal transplants may be carried out, which involves using corneal tissue from a donor to repair the eye. Sometimes surgery is used to treat dry eyes, by inserting plugs into the tear ducts that drain tears from the eye. This means that tears remain in the eye for a longer period, keeping the eye moist.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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