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"Ocular Rosacea" - Blepharitis FoundationYour resource for red eyes

“Ocular Rosacea”




Today, a husband and wife were in my office for their annual eye exams. The wife had been told by her dermatologist that she had “ocular rosacea”. She asked me if this was possible. She knew that rosacea was a skin condition, and she was surprised she could have it in her eyes. I explained to her that we consider the ocular component of rosacea to be blepharitis. There is a strong association between rosacea of the skin and blepharitis of the eyelids. The term “ocular rosacea” has been around for many years. Technically, it is not correct terminology. But, most ophthalmologists, and dermatologists, understand that it is synonymous with blepharitis. In fact, the physiology of both conditions is similar. Namely, overactivity of the oil glands of the skin and eyelids and sluggish secretions of these oil glands. On the skin, this produces acne, prominent pores in the nose, forehead and cheeks, and dilated blood vessels. On the eyelids, we find accumulation of oil, dandruff, and bacteria. When this material spills into the eye, it causes redness, burning and stinging. This lady’s husband also had rosace and blepharitis. I wondered  about their kids. Rosacea is hereditary. Most people with this condition have a Scottish, Irish, or English ancestry. With two parents as fair, and rosacea-prone as this couple, I imagine their kids would have rosacea and blepharitis. I advised this couple, as I do other rosacea/blepharitis patients, to wear a hat and sunscreen to reduce sun damage, and to clean their eyelids once a day with baby shampoo. Since fair skin is more susceptible to skin cancers, a hat with a 360 degree brim offers the best protection.

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