Rosacea is a skin condition typically characterized by redness in the face, usually on the forehead, cheeks and nose. Blood vessels underneath the skin, known as telangiectasias, are often visible in affected areas. Rosacea is more common in adults than in children. It is more prevalent in women, with the exception of the rhinophyma form, in which the nose becomes bulbous in appearance due to inflammation; this is typically more common in men. Rosacea can also affect the eyes, which is known as ocular rosacea.
The symptoms of ocular rosacea commonly include chronic irritation, redness, burning, photophobia, dryness, and the sensation of a foreign body in the eye. These symptoms are often caused by inflammation of the eyelid margins, a condition known as blepharitis, which can lead to insufficient or abnormal tear production from the meibomian glands located within the eyelids.
For mild blepharitis and ocular rosacea, applying a warm compress, such as a warm washcloth, over closed eyelids and massaging gently may help to soothe the eye area and alleviate symptoms. This procedure may be performed in the morning upon rising and in the evening before bed. Maintaining good ocular hygiene, by gently cleaning the eyelid margins with a mild baby shampoo or a specialized eyelid cleaner available over-the-counter, also helps to prevent or reduce inflammation. In some cases, however, prescription treatments such as anti-inflammatories and antibiotics, in the form of eye drops, ointments or oral medicines, are often necessary. Medication may only be required for a short period of time or on as-needed basis, but it can help to improve or alleviate signs and symptoms for an extended period of time.