Rosacea and eyes relief

Written by on March 10, 2008 with 5 Comments

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Colleen Congdon <> wrote:

> Hi!  I’m 27 and I was just diagnosed with rosacea yesterday, although I now realize that I’ve had symptomologies for years.  I’m particularly concerned about how Rosacea has already and will affect my eyes.  I am extremely near-sighted and wear contacts, and Rosacea has already caused many spider veins in my eyes, making it difficult to wear contacts.  Does anyone have any suggestions as to eye treatments that prevent deterioration of the eyes?


I suggest you find a cornea specialist in your area. Try checking with your insurance provider list, but you might have to, as I did, cross-reference to yellow pages ads looking for a cornea specialist among the “Physicians – Ophthalmology.” Or call your existing ophtho or opto for a reference. In my experience optometrists don’t really know how to look for this sort of thing; they are just looking to correct your vision.

The four things that have been working in combination for me (prescribed by my doc, a cornea specialist) are:

  • warm compresses on the eyes in the evening (5-10 minutes). I just take a clean white washcloth, run hot tap water over it, wring it out and place it against my closed lids. When it cools I repeat the process. Sometimes I warm a gel-filled eye mask which I bought in the drugstore near the loofah sponges and body lotions, and place it over the cloth to keep it warm longer.  This stimulates the blocked ducts that keep your eyes from getting the ‘oily’ moisture (rather than just salt-water tears) they need.
  • lid scrubs in the evening. I went out and bought a pack of OcuSoft near the eyedrops in the store; turns out I could have used a cotton ball and some diluted baby shampoo. This helps remove any residue and bacteria.
  • ointment just before bed. I have a prescription antibiotic one for the short term, but you can buy a ‘bland’ ointment in the drugstore. I’ve seen LacriLube near the eyedrops.  (I also sleep with a sleep mask, as I’m now more concerned about dust and things getting around my eyes with the ointment. Among other things I sleep better.)
  • Articial tears type eye drops (not the Visine kind) several times a day to keep the moisture in my eyes. I have started using GenTeal and occasionally the thicker CelluVisc. The latter is great, but expensive and only in single-use vials because there’s no preservatives.

Also, based on a comment here, I’ve started taking a capsule with flaxseed oil and borage oil in it (esential Omega-3, -6, -9 fatty acids, good for you anyway). Between all that I’ve seen a drastic improvement in my eye appearance and comfort — though my lids still look relatively irritated. It looks like I have a subtle brown eyeshadow on the top lid. Fortunately this is not the case on the bottom lid.

Finally, try getting more rest. Do you sleep enough and sleep well? I’m making a big effort.  And if you use your computer a lot, try taking breaks, consciously blinking more often, and using a glare reducing screen.

I just came to this list two weeks ago and I sound like I think I’m an expert.  But I know what’s working for me!

Best of luck to you. And be careful with contacts. I’ve decided they’re not for me. I hate glasses but would rather never feel the pain of corneal abrasion again.


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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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5 Reader Comments

  1. Sumi says:

    Hi Ann

    What do you mean by corneal abrasion?

    Also, was there any problem with your corneas? I would be interested to know as acc. to my corneal specialist, my corneas are deteriorating quite rapidly and have peripheral neo-vascularisation in both eyes and I think opcaification as well.

    He has put me on steriod drops FML twice a day for 3 months, I am very concerned re. the side effects of these drops and wondering if this will make situation worse in the long term providing me with short term relief.

    Your knowledge and experience would be greatly appreciated.


  2. Lee says:

    Regarding rosacea and the eyes–after I began rapidly losing vision, my regular optometrist sent me to an opthamologist who soon diagnosed cornea problems because of rosacea and dry eyes. (I also have cataracts but not related.) Since I use steroid inhalers to control asthma and rhinitis the rosacea on my face is not apparent. This is how he is attempting to control the problem with my eyes.
    First he put plugs in my eyes to keep moisture in them.
    Second, he suggested warm compresses made by half filling a clean white sock with rice, tying a knot, then microwaving it for about 40 seconds, and placing it on my eyes for 15 minutes once or twice a day. The rice holds heat much better than a damp cloth.
    Third, I clean my eyes twice a day with Johnson’s Baby shampoo which does not irritate the eyes.
    Fourth, he placed me on an Omega 3 and 6 vitamin regimen.
    Hopefully, these combinations will do the trick.

  3. Mary says:

    Thanks for the hot compress information. I will try it. I do worry about the glare and heat from my computer screen and feel it heats up the left side of my face and makes my rosacea worse there (will buy a glare reducing screen and try to sit further back). A fellow ocular rosacea sufferer recommended taking 1-2 tbsp. flax seed oil daily (I mix it with half a mashed banana – part of my oatmeal breakfast). He said that the quality of flax seed oil varies a lot and that the one his dermatologist recommended is Barleans (available at Whole Foods or check your area). He said it would take 3 months to really see a difference, but my eye felt less scratchy in one week. Also, I don’t get hungry as quickly afterwards. Good luck out there. Rosacea is hard to live with but better than a lot of things life can throw at us.

  4. Aurora Kelly says:


  5. coniston says:

    This has been 1 week now since starting the omega 3 full strength one a day captules. Flaxseed milled which I can eat with breakfast of yogurt even recipes for cooking with it. I am heating a cloth in warm water for my eyes 5 minutes each eye plus eye drops for eyes. The other change I have made this week is cetaphil with sunscreen of sp 15 so far so good hopefull I can then get a stronger sp that my very sensitive skin wont react to. Since finding out I have both seb derm and rosacea and pustules plus allergys to fragrance ,lanolin alcohol,nickel I have tried serveral sunscreens but they have all been to severe for skin.

    I woke up to only 2 pustles still very tiny and no flushing which in itself is a rare occasion wonder if its the diet of fish most days with leafy green also feel better and today first in weeks no pain in my lower back or shoulders which I contribute to no sun for over 2 years.

    With the flaxseed I am taking more water as it swells and make you feel less hungry so I should also benefit weight wise because I have put on quite a bit comfort eating since this all began.

    My eyes feel better today not stinging or sore however othomoligist said would take at least 1 month to see inprovement to the inflation also it was his advice to take the omega 3 plus the flaxseed he was surprized I hadnt been told about these products before.

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