Ocular Rosacea. Among the many diseases in our midst, Rosacea is characterized by its classic symptoms that are unmistakable in their being unique. Patchy flushing, redness, and inflammation particularly on the cheeks, nose, forehead, and around the mouth are among its distinct identifying marks.
Rosacea usually comes out in people who are between 30 to 50 years old, and it usually attacks mostly women. As people get older, acid accumulates with the body organs, bones, in the face, and in the brain. Our head, including our face, receives the larger supply of blood.
The eyes. Around 85% of rosacea patients will experience symptoms related to their eyes. This is called ocular rosacea, and frequently precedes the other appearances on the skin.
These ocular symptoms do not threaten the eyesight, with the treatment of 1/3 steroid and 2/3 antibiotics. The eye symptoms can go completely unnoticed. Oftentimes, it is the doctor (or ophthalmologist) who first notices the eye symptoms.
Advanced. Rosacea may or may not affect the eyes. Not everyone with rosacea has eye issues. A particular complication of advanced rosacea (known as ocular rosacea) affects the eyes, however.
About half of all people with rosacea report feeling burning, dryness, and grittiness of the eyes (conjunctivitis). These individuals may also experience redness of the eyelids and light sensitivity.
Untreated eye rosacea may cause permanent damage, including impaired vision.
Symptoms. The symptoms include a persistent burning sensation and the feeling of grittiness in the eyes. The eyelids are inflamed and swollen. The eyes sometimes become bloodshot and eye lashes fall out.
The ocular signs are extremely variable, including blepharitis, conjunctivitis, iritis, and even keratitis. These ocular complications are independent of the severity of the facial rosacea symptoms. Extreme keratitis can lead to corneal opacity and blindness.
The most frequent symptoms include chronically inflamed margins of the eyelids with scales and crusts. Photophobia (sensitivity to light) and pain are sometimes present.
The nose. In the face, it is the nose that sometimes gets disfigured by rosacea. It can become bumpy and red, sporting dilated small blood vessels.
Left unattended (and untreated), the advanced stages of rosacea can develop into rhinophyma. It is a disfiguring nose condition characterized by a bulbous nose enlarged by the disease.
Bumps. There might be some bumps on the lower half of the nose and the nearby cheek areas. Severe rhinophyma occurs only on men. However, it can now be surgically corrected and repaired.
Some people falsely attribute the prominent red nose to heavy drinking. This stigma can cause embarrassment to people with the disease. The dilemma is hard to solve. You are not a hard drinker but your rosacea symptoms are putting you on the spot.
Lifestyle changes. You can help minimize your chances of contracting rosacea by some personal lifestyle changes. These include diet and exercise where you can identify your rosacea trigger foods (caffeine, spices, sugar and other sweeteners, etc.)Try to minimize the use of your skin and makeup products. Some chemicals might just be the silent triggers to the disease. This includes perfumes and other related products.
Even at this stage, rosacea has yet to find a cure, including your ocular rosacea. In the meantime, your doctor knows best how to treat the many symptoms of your rosacea. Life goes on.