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Rosacea is a common yet poorly understood and underdiagnosed chronic skin condition that affects the face. The underlying issue is thought to be inflammation of the blood vessels. The hallmark signs of rosacea are facial redness, flushing, or fine lacy blood vessels visible in the skin of the cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead. Other skin findings include thickened and bumpy texture, enlarged pores, pimples or pustules, and dry burning stinging patches.
The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, yet risk factors are thought to include genetics, autoimmune tendencies, and environmental factors. It most commonly affects middle age and older adults and those with fairer skin tones. Most cases of ocular rosacea are mild and are undiagnosed. Even though the diagnosis is frequently missed, it can cause significant discomfort to a patient.
In many cases, rosacea can also affect the eyes (known as Ocular Rosacea) and contribute to Dry Eye Disease. Not all patients with skin rosacea develop ocular rosacea. On the other hand, some patients with rosacea develop eye symptoms before developing skin symptoms. Rosacea can cause inflammation of the eyelids and lashes (blepharitis) as well as the oil glands within the eyelid (meibomian gland dysfunction), further leading to Dry Eye Disease. Rosacea is frequently associated with mite infestation (demodex) of the eyelids as well as facial skin. We have in office diagnostics for the diagnosis of demodex mites embedded in your lashes as seen in the photographs below.
Severe cases of Ocular Rosacea can cause permanent scarring on the surface of the eye, leading to loss of vision.
Symptoms of Ocular Rosacea include:
• Eye redness
• Eye discomfort, dryness, burning, and/or foreign body sensation
• Blurry vision – fluctuating or constant
• Excess tearing
• Eyelid redness, swelling, and tenderness
• Recurrent chalazia or styes
Known triggers for flare-ups of eye and skin symptoms include:
Treatment of both skin and ocular symptoms firstly involve avoiding potential and known triggers as mentioned above. Sunscreen for skin protection is recommended when outdoors.
For eye symptoms, your doctor may recommend eyelid compresses, scrubs, artificial tear drops, anti-inflammatory eye drops, omega-3 fatty acid supplements, and/or oral antibiotics depending on the severity of your condition. Advanced cases may benefit from in-office procedures such as Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), LipiFlow, and/or BlephEx.
InVision Eye Care became the first ophthalmic practice on the Jersey Shore to offer Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL) for the treatment of Ocular Rosacea and Dry Eye Disease. These techniques are expertly performed by Dr. Ashwinee Ragam, the director of the Dry Eye Relief Center. We use the latest equipment and treatment parameters for IPL treatment following its recent FDA approval. We also have in-office laboratory facilities for the detection of demodex mites that may be aggravating your skin and eyelids.