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Treatment Options for Ocular Rosacea

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen • edited by: lrohner • updated: 1/21/2011

Ocular rosacea treatment is meant to make the condition easier to deal with. If you experience this read on to learn about the various treatment options available to you.

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    As many as 85 percent of patients suffering from rosacea may experience eye-related symptoms, often referred to as ocular rosacea. This condition is characterized by eye inflammation that results from rosacea, an inflammatory condition that is chronic and affects the skin on the nose, forehead, and face. Ocular rosacea is relatively common in rosacea patients, but in less common cases, it may occur without the patient having rosacea. Knowing about ocular rosacea treatment will be beneficial in learning which are right for you in alleviating your symptoms and discomfort.

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    Cotton Swabs

    With this condition, the eyes can become plagued with oily secretions and debris. Using a cotton swab to moisten it can help when removing these oily secretions and debris. Patients must be very careful when doing this to avoid injury to the eye, and the cotton swab should never be placed in the eye, but just around the eye. Gently wipe to remove these and be very careful and cautious.

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    Washing the Eyes

    Washing out the eyes can help in relieving the symptoms of this condition, especially the grittiness and burning that many patients experience. Simply rinsing the eyes with plain water is helpful for many patients. Some doctors suggest heavily diluting baby shampoo and using it to wash out the eyes, but plain water works well for most patients.

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    Medications

    Oral antibiotics are typically prescribed as an ocular rosacea treatment. Commonly used medications include tetracycline, erythromycin, doxycycline, and minocycline. Under rare circumstances, oral corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce inflammation.

    If the patient is experiencing eye redness and dryness, eye drops may be prescribed to help alleviate these symptoms. Artificial tears may also be beneficial.

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    Humidifier

    When the eyes are very dry, irritated, red, and itchy, a humidifier may be beneficial. This will help to keep the air from getting dry, resulting in less eye irritation.

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    Punctal Plugs

    Punctal plugs are more of a last resort when the above methods prove ineffective. They are used to close the tear drainage ducts. The plugs can be removed. If the doctor decides to use punctal cautery, this is relatively permanent and involves burning the openings of the tear ducts.

    Punctal plugs are used to alleviate dry eyes, and the symptoms that dry eyes cause. Before using the plugs, the doctor may use dissolvable plugs to determine if they are right for the patient and effective in relieving his or her symptoms before moving on to using the more semi-permanent punctal plugs. The types of punctal plugs used include umbrella, hollow, low profile or slanted cap, tapered, or reservoir.

    These plugs rarely cause problems or serious side effects, but some patients may experience excessive tearing, the plug becoming dislodged (such as from rubbing the eyes), eye infections, blockages, and dacryocystitis.

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    Resources

    Randleman, J.B. MD. & Loft, E.S. MD. (2009). Ocular Rosacea: Treatment and Medication. Retrieved on January 12, 2011 from eMedicine: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1197341-treatment

    Knobbe, C. A. MD. (2009). Ocular Rosacea. Retrieved on January 12, 2011 from All About Vision: http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/ocular-rosacea.htm