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ocular rosacea dry eyes picture of eyelid with hazel eye
Rosacea is a skin condition that causes redness of the face and bumpy skin lesions, and it is relatively common in the US.  It can also be a significant risk factor for dry eye disease.  Many people who suffer from rosacea also experience inflamed eyelids, Meibomian gland dysfunction, and moderate to severe dry eyes.  When these symptoms are caused by the underlying skin condition, they are referred to as ocular rosacea.  Ocular rosacea can be difficult to diagnose and effectively treat, so it is important to know the risk factors and warning signs. 

 

What is Rosacea?


Rosacea is not an ocular condition, it is a skin condition, and it must be diagnosed, treated, and managed by a dermatologist.   It causes chronic symptoms that most commonly includes facial redness, and may also include highly visible blood vessels (also known as telangiectasia), pus-filled bumps on the facial skin, and even a large bulbous appearance to the nose.  The exact underlying cause of rosacea is still unknown, but doctors do know that certain triggers can be responsible for flare-ups or worsening of symptoms.  Common triggers include stress, sun exposure or warm temperatures, exercise, certain foods (especially spicy cuisine), alcohol, or even some medications or lotions.  Avoiding triggers is an important aspect of living with rosacea.  It can also be controlled with topical or prescription medications.  

 

How does Rosacea Cause Dry Eyes? 


Rosacea results in chronic inflammation of the eyelids and surrounding tissue.  As we know, the eyelids play a pivotal role in the health of the ocular surface.  When rosacea results in inflamed eyelids, it can cause additional eye problems like blepharitis and Meibomian gland dysfunction.  Both of these eyelid conditions cause or worsen symptoms of dry eye disease.  Those who are affected by ocular rosacea are more likely to suffer from dry eyes, and typically experience a more severe degree of dry eye symptoms.  Some people affected by rosacea will have red and puffy eyelids, but for others the condition is much less noticeable.  At a routine eye examination, your doctor can closely review your medical history and the health of your eyes to see if an underlying condition, such as rosacea, is causing or worsening your symptoms of dry eye disease. 

 

How is Ocular Rosacea Treated? 


Treating ocular rosacea is a long-term process.  The most important aspect of controlling the symptoms is to manage the underlying eyelid inflammation.  This includes lifestyle modifications like avoiding triggers and taking any medications that are recommended by your dermatologist.  It also requires ocular treatments like lid scrubs to keep the eyelids free of bacteria and debris.  In many cases of ocular rosacea, prescription medications will be recommended to reduce eye inflammation and improve comfort.  This can include topical ointments, eye drops, or oral medications.  If you suffer from ocular rosacea, it is likely that you will need to work closely with both your dermatologist and your optometrist in order to control inflammation, improve ocular health, and reduce uncomfortable symptoms of dry eye disease.  

 

Our eye doctor at Innovative Vision Care in Belton, Missouri excels in the prescription of contact lenses, glasses and various eye diseases.  Call our optometrist at 816.331.9590 or request an appointment online if you would like to be evaluated for ocular rosacea or dry eyes.  Our eye doctor, Dr. Aaron Law, provides the highest quality optometry services  and eye exams in Belton, MO.

punctal plug dry eyes
Dry eye treatment can include over-the-counter eye drops, prescription medications, ointments, and more.  In moderate to severe cases of dry eye disease, these treatment options may not be enough to completely relieve symptoms of burning, grittiness, and irritation.  For those resistant cases, punctal plugs may be the answer.  Punctal plugs are small medical devices that can provide a more permanent form of treatment and deliver long term relief for those who are significantly affected by dry eye disease.  

contact lenses dry eyes contact lens inserted to blue eye
Symptoms of dry eye disease are very common and affect millions of people.  For some people who rely on contact lenses for clear vision, dryness and irritation can be worsened by the daily wear of their lenses.  While this can be a frustrating experience, luckily there are many options to improve comfort for people who experience dryness related to their contact lenses.  If you are experiencing discomfort and dryness, talk to your eye doctor before giving up on your contacts.  

scleral contact lens contact lens in water
Scleral lenses are specialty contact lenses that have gained popularity among eye care providers and patients alike.  Scleral lenses are large diameter contact lenses that vault over the front surface of the eye and rest smoothly on the sclera, or the white area.  Before putting on the lens, it is filled with a nourishing fluid that keeps the front surface of the eye lubricated throughout the entire day. The unique lens design and stable material of scleral lenses provides many people with clear and comfortable vision.

watery eyes
Many people experience watery eyes, which can be irritating and can interfere with vision.  While it may seem counterintuitive, watery eyes may be a sign of dry eye disease. In most cases, watery and runny eyes indicate an underlying condition called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, which plays a major role in dry eye symptoms.  Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, also called MGD, affects the production of the natural tear film of the eye and can result in symptoms such as watering, burning, grittiness, or feeling like something is “in the eye.” In order to stop these symptoms, we have to address the underlying dryness. 

nighttime dryness
If you notice that your symptoms of dry eye disease are worse in the morning, you may be experiencing the effects of nighttime dryness.  Many people believe that the night is a time when our eyes are protected from symptoms of dryness or irritation; however, for some people, it can actually be the most damaging time of the day.  Do you notice that your eyes are most uncomfortable upon awakening? Continue reading to learn if you are affected by nighttime dryness.

treating dry eye disease
The symptoms of dry eye disease typically include irritation, redness, burning, grittiness, watering, or itching.  These symptoms can be burdensome, and many people find that dry eye disease negatively impacts their daily life. Treatment for dry eyes is usually a long-term approach that focuses on adequately and efficiently reducing symptoms and reducing the burden of ocular irritation.  If you suffer from dry eye disease, your optometrist will have the best recommendation regarding what treatment options are best for you. Below are some of the common treatment approaches for this disease.  
computer vision syndrome
Our society’s use of digital screens, including cellphones, computer screens, and tablets, has drastically increased in the past decade.  Many people who regularly use digital screens for an extended period of time can agree that increased screen time leads to computer-related eye problems.  Symptoms such as eye strain, headaches, dryness and irritation, and even double vision may suggest the presence of a condition known as Computer Vision Syndrome, or CVS.  Whether computer vision syndrome is a mild inconvenience or a significant burden in your day-to-day life, there are ways to protect your eyes from the symptoms of this condition.  

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