Rosacea is an autoimmune inflammatory disorder that often leads to eye involvement – ocular rosacea. Ocular rosacea can occur even before the broader skin manifestations of rosacea begin. The fact that rosacea and ocular rosacea are autoimmune-related makes it all the harder to treat.
The effect of rosacea on eyes in very pronounced and significant. Ocular rosacea is primarily a disorder of meibomian gland dysfunction and blepharitis. Both of these conditions occur due to the lack of a water component in the tear composition.
Symptoms of Ocular Rosacea
Signs and symptoms of ocular osacea are common and include:
- Foreign body sensation
- Photophobia – sensitivity to light
- Blurred vision
- Red eyes
- Sticky crusty build up on eye lashes
Complications of Ocular Rosacea
Ocular Rosacea left untreated can lead to cornea damage requiring cornea transplantation. These changes are as follows:
- Changes of eye lid margin that indicates redness and vascular changes;
- Meibomian gland clogging
- Vascularized cornea, and cornea ulcers
Longstanding chronic blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction and rosacea can lead to:
- Deformity of the lid margin
- Eye lid scars
- Loss of eye lashes and eye brows
- Inward grown eye lashes (trichiasis)
- Loss of color to your eye lashes and hair (poliosis)
Treatments for Ocular Rosacea
Because of the potential severity of ocular rosacea, TheraLife® highly recommends early intervention using TheraLife® Autoimmune plus Omega 3 Fish Oil. This formula contains strong anti-inflammatory agents and ingredients to regulate the immune system.
Other anti-inflammatory agents, both biological and pharmaceutical, have sometimes been used by patientsl. Topical ophthalmic steroids are reported to be effective in the prevention of recurrent corneal erosions associated with ocular rosacea when used with oral antibiotics.
The Dry Eye Workshop developed 4 different severity levels for ocular rosacea, each of which demands different treatment approaches:
- Severity Level 1. Education and environmental changes, artificial tear substitutes (gels/ ointments) and eye lid therapy.
- Severity Level 2. If level 1 measures fail, then include: anti-inflammatory, punctal plugs, and moisture chamber spectacles.
- Severity Level 3. If level 2 measures fail, then include autologous serum drops, contact lenses and permanent punctal occlusion.
- Severity Level 4. If level 3 measures fail, then include oral anti-inflammatory agents (cyclosporine A, prednisolone, methotrexate and infliximab) and/or surgery eye lid surgery, and cornea transplant.
Why Omega 3 Fish Oil for Ocular Rosacea?
Omega 3 fatty acids from cold water fish have shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Nutritional therapy with 1g/day to 2g/day reduces ocular surface inflammation. For vegetarians, flax seed oil can be used instead.
Home Remedies for Ocular Rosacea
Local measures, such as warm compresses and lid scrubs, can be helpful. In ocular rosacea, eyelid scrubbing is used in conjunction with a steroid.
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