Ocular rosacea

Ocular rosacea is one of the more irritating aspects of rosacea.  It's hard to say how many people experience it, but I have read anywhere from 10-60% of people with rosacea will also have eye symptoms.

Ocular rosacea will make your eyes itchy, especially along the rims.  Even the blood vessels in the whites of your eyes will be more obvious.  People with it are also more prone to styes.  

Just like with my skin has good days and bad days, I have eye symptoms sometimes.  I have actually confused it with the start of pink-eye, but the difference is that I never develop the gooey discharge that goes along with pink-eye.  My eyes will be red and feel dry and itchy.  A lot like how I feel in allergy season, so it can be hard to figure out what the real problem is.

Simple artificial tears eye drops or ointments help me a lot, but some people need more than that.  Ophthalmic antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drops or combination antibiotic-corticosteroids also help, especially if there is inflammation.  Even oral doxycycline will help ocular symptoms, although then you're taking an antibiotic.  I recommend trying ophthalmic drops first, and if that doesn't work, talk to your doctor about oral medications.

For some people with ocular symptoms, their eyelashes start to grow in towards their eyes from the inflammation.  As a result, they rub their eyes a lot or even pull out their eyelashes.  

But aside from just being uncomfortable and unsightly (pardon the pun), it can become serious if the cornea is involved.  If you have blurred vision, discomfort, or sensitivity to light, definitely see the doctor about it.  Like the skin symptoms, ocular rosacea can come and go or progressively get worse. 

If you're having inflammation and dry eyes, you can clean your eyelids gently with a q-tip wet with artificial tears drops or ointment.  I don't use tap water to clean my eyes because, sadly, most tap water is not always so clean.  I also scrupulously wash my hands before I touch my eyes!  Irritated tissues are more prone to infections, so I don't want to compound the problem.

I also don't wear contact lenses regularly anymore.  They were simply too uncomfortable for daily wear.  I switched to the "daily" type of lense because they're thinner, and since I don't wear them every day, they're more sanitary than storing a regular lense for days or weeks. 

Considering that such a large percentage of people with rosacea will also have eye symptoms, take really good care of your eyes--keep your hands clean if you touch your eyes, and if you wear contacts, never re-use solutions, and consider the daily wear lenses.