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Ocular Rosacea

Concerns and considerations with Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, LASEK,
Epi-Lasik, RLE, and P-IOL.

Image of eye and eyelids red due to ocular rosacea.  
Reddish skin often associated with bloodshot eyes are common presentations of ocular rosacea. Image courtesy National Rosacea Society.  

Ocular rosacea (pronounced rose-ay-shah) is a contraindication for all refractive surgery techniques until treated and managed. Even after management, having refractive surgery with ocular rosacea may not be wise because of the possibility of reoccurring outbreaks.

Neurovascular Disorder

Rosacea is a potentially progressive neurovascular disorder that can present as a combination of skin symptoms including redness of the face, flushing, the presence of small blood vessels ("broken" blood vessels), acne, occasional surface irregularities of the nose (called rhinophyma), and symptoms of redness. Rosacea blood vessels undergo changes in function and become hyper-responsive to internal and external stimuli. These changes are ultimately responsible for the progression of all rosacea symptoms. When it affects the eyes it is called ocular rosacea.


Ocular rosacea can affect both the eye surface and eyelid. Symptoms can include redness, dry eyes, foreign body sensations, sensitivity of the eye surface, burning sensations and eyelid symptoms such as styes, redness, crusting and loss of eyelashes. Ocular rosacea can leave the eyes feeling irritated and "gritty".

Many who have rosacea mistakenly think they have allergies.


Use of prescription steroid based eye drops will usually help improve this condition. More severe cases may require oral tetracycline or minocin. Rosacea is more common in individuals with fair complexions, with women affected at a higher rate than men. Patients who are from ethnic backgrounds such as Great Britain (including Ireland, Scotland and Wales), Germany and Scandinavia tend to be more likely candidates, although anyone can develop rosacea. This disease typically develops anywhere between the ages of 30-50. What causes rosacea is still unknown. We do know that the skin form of rosacea is more common in patients who had significant acne earlier in life or have a family history of rosacea.

Similar Malady

Seborrheic dermatitis and rosacea are closely related, they both involve inflammation of the oil glands. Rosacea also involves a vascular component causing flushing and broken blood vessels. Seborrheic dermatitis may involve the presence of somewhat greasy flaking involving the area composed of the forehead, nose and around the mouth, crusts, scales, itching and occasionally burning, and may also be found on the scalp, ears and torso. It does not usually involve red bumps as in Rosacea.

Just to confuse things further, the two conditions are often seen together.

A "cure" in the traditional sense is not readily available, however symptoms can normally be reduced to a manageable level. There are plenty of treatment options. An evaluation by an ophthalmologist and/or dermatologist is advised.

Looking For Best Lasik Surgeon?

If you are ready to choose a doctor to be evaluated for conventional or custom wavefront Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, or any refractive surgery procedure, we recommend you consider a doctor who has been evaluated and certified by the USAEyes nonprofit organization. Locate a USAEyes Evaluated & Certified Lasik Doctor.

Personalized Answers

If this article did not fully answer your questions, use our free Ask Lasik Expert patient forum.

Recent Ocular Rosacea Medical Journal Articles...

Related Articles

The Use of the PlasmaBlade and Acellular Dermal Matrix in Rhinophyma Surgery: A Case Report.

J Cutan Med Surg. 2015 Oct 22;

Authors: Özkan A, Topkara A, Özcan RH, Şentürk S

BACKGROUND: Rhinophyma is a rare, disfiguring disease characterized by a slow progressive overgrowth of the soft tissue of the nose associated with end-stage severe acne rosacea.
OBJECTIVE: We present a case of severe rhinophyma treated successfully using PlasmaBlade and acellular dermal matrix with split-thickness skin graft.
METHODS: This procedure combines deep excision with PlasmaBlade followed by coverage with an acellular dermal matrix for dermal substitution and split-thickness skin graft.
RESULTS: Functional and aesthetic results were satisfactory.
CONCLUSION: We offer a new approach to surgical treatment of rhinophyma. Total excision of phymatous tissue and single session replacement of epidermal-dermal components is an effective treatment for patients with severe rhinophyma, resulting in satisfactory functional and aesthetic outcome. This combined treatment modality prevents the recurrence of rhinophyma. It should be considered an appropriate alternative in cases of severe rhinophyma.

PMID: 26492919 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]


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