Wearing Contact Lenses and Ocular Rosacea

Written by on May 30, 2007 in dry eye, Ocular Rosacea, Rosacea Fact Sheets with 3 Comments

ocular rosacea contact lens

Many rosacea sufferers, especially those who suffer from ocular rosacea wonder if they will ever be able to regularly and comfortably wear contact lenses.

When your eyes are sore, gritty and blurry would one want to consider trying to apply a contact lens ?

I personally don’t have any ocular symptoms but I do know that I take it as given right to be able to wear contacts instead of the hassle of glasses.

In this article, Contact Lens Wear in The Rosacea Patient (which was mentioned in a recent edition of Rosacea Review), Dr. Mannis lists the factors involved with the successful wearing of contact lenses when you suffer from ocular symptoms.

Dr. Mannis is well known in the rosacea world. He took part in a recent question and answer session with members of rosacea-support as well as being thanked and credited for contributing to the standard classification of rosacea.

The article summarises ocular rosacea treatments as  ;

  1. Lid hygiene to minimize the inflammation and evaporative effects induced by meibomian gland dysfunction;
  2. Systemic treatment of the rosacea with doxycycline, tetracycline or related medications;
  3. Standard treatment of dry-eye signs and symptoms with supplemental artificial tears. In our own practice, the use of topical cyclosporine has been helpful in this subset of patients not only because of its effects on aqueous tear production but, in addition, due to its anti-inflammatory effect.
  4. In severely inflamed patients, we use a topical corticosteroid on a short-term basis to control inflammation while longer-term anti-inflammatory therapies may be of value if the patient is carefully monitored. There may also be some evidence that dietary alterations to include a shift from omega-6 fatty acids to an omega-3-predominant diet may both modulate tear production and ocular surface inflammation. Finally, we recommend that patients drink plenty of water and reduce their intake of caffeinated beverages.

The article goes on to give the following advice about wearing contact lenses ;

The successful fitting of a contact lens in the patient with ocular or generalized rosacea requires:

  1. Careful assessment of the inflammatory status of the ocular surface and adnexa;
  2. “Normalization” or, at least, “optimization” of the ocular surface with lid hygiene, systemic therapy of the rosacea, and tear-film supplementation;
  3. The choice of an appropriate lens material and design for the roseatic surface;
  4. Close monitoring of the lens and its effect on the conjunctival and corneal surfaces in the context of the disease.

If the fitter adheres to these principles, most patients with systemic or ocular rosacea can be fitted with good functional results and a minimum of contact lens-related adverse reactions.

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

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3 Reader Comments

  1. Cherridah Pate says:

    What is the best material for contact lenses in a person with rosecea? I am find that my gas permeable lenses develop a film, are difficult to clean but when clean they are comfortable and the vision is good.

  2. Hi Cherridah,

    I often feel that at the end of a day I have some kind of film on my lenses. I don’t think it is just protein, feels like something else. I wear Oasys 2-weekly lenses that also feel great and clean when you first put them in.


  3. kay says:

    I dont believe its a good idea to where contacts if you have or are prone to rosacea, i.e pale skin etc. Yes doing all that stuff will help you wear them successfully if you have mild desease or borderline. But most people who wear contacts with mild rosacea wont bother if they dont have obvious eye symptoms when wearing them. But theres still an underlying problem and contacts can make it worse.

    Theres no advice or warning from contact lense practitioners on complications of inflammation of ocular rosacea.

    This is my experience anyway. I have mild rosacea, and contacts caused bad inflammation of my inner eyelids which is now causing MGD and dry eye.. i probably was removing them wrong. But i got no warning.

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