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Rosacea primarily affects the skin of the face and sometimes neck and leads to flushing and persistent redness of the face. With time, rosacea may cause deformities of the facial skin and nose (rhinophyma).
The condition affects a large number of people worldwide and is severely disfiguring. There are several environmental and lifestyle triggers that bring about flare-ups of this condition and treatment mainly focuses on avoiding these triggers as there is no fixed cure for this condition.
One of the dreaded and under-diagnosed conditions associated with rosacea is eye involvement of the disease or ocular rosacea, which may potentially blind a patient.
Around 80% of patients with rosacea develop ocular rosacea as a complication. However, ocular rosacea may be a standalone condition with no skin symptoms.
As with rosacea, the causes of ocular rosacea are not clearly known. Some of the speculated causes of the condition include those similar to skin rosacea:
Due to ocular rosacea, the thin layer of lipids or fats over the eye is disrupted and this leads to dry eyes. Dry eyes trigger inflammatory responses leading to itching, watering and redness of the eyes.
To prevent ocular rosacea, patients with rosacea are advised to avoid triggers that cause flare-ups of the disease. They are also advised to avoid things that aggravate eye inflammation and dry eyes including corneal surgery and contact lenses. Other factors to be avoided include toxic environmental factors, heat, cold, wind, and smoke.
One of the possible complications of ocular rosacea if left untreated is blindness due to scarring over the cornea.