Friday, February 17, 2012

Rosacea of the eye . . . .

Rosacea is a chronic condition which is characterized by a facial redness. Pimples can sometimes be part of the definition. Treatments such as topical steroids can aggravate the situation.

Rosacia primarily affects Caucasians but can also affect people of other ethnicities. It affects primarily women although men can suffer from it as well.

Rosacea usually begins as a redness on the central area of the face across the cheeks, nose or forehead but can also affect the neck, chest, ears, scalp and the eyes. There are four types of classified rosacea.

Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea - A permanent redness with a tendency to flush and/or blush easily. It is also common to have small blood vessels visible close to the surface of the skin. There is sometimes a burning or itching sensation.

Papulopustular rosacea - Some permanent redness with red bumps and possibly some postules that can be misidentified as acne. These usually last 1-4 days.

Phymatous rosacea - This type is usually associated with the enlargement of the nose, known as  rhinophyma. This subtype can cause thickening of the skin, irregular surface nodularities and enlargement.

Occular rosacea - Causes red, dry, irritated eyes and eyelids. Other symptoms are itching, feeling of foreign objects being present and burning.

About fourteen years ago, my husband was diagnosed with iritis in his left eye. At first the doctor thought it was pink eye, then they thought it was a foreign object. They finally came to the conclusion that it was iritis. They prescribed a steroid eye drop and about three times a year, he has had to use these to stop the pain, swelling, itching and burning. It usually lasts for about a week, after starting the drops.

Since he has changed over to the VA for medical care, he learned from the eye doctor that he has rosacia. Treatment will consist of warm compresses, for at least two minutes, a prescription for artificial tears to help wash out the eye, and at last resort, another prescription for a steroid eye drop.
I was amazed that they were able to find the reason for his continuous eye problem.

My mother had chronic iritis so badly that she almost lost her eyesight in her right eye. I remember the shades being pulled that summer, to stop the sun from coming into the house as her eye wouldn't dilate properly. The eye doctors back then didn't know why she got chronic iritis or really how to treat it. Mother got better but her eye never did heal to the point of being able to dilate and she had several laser surgeries, years later, to stop bleeding because of the trauma.

My niece, at the age of 18, was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in her eye. The size of a pin head, it looked like a freckle and the eye doctor decided he'd better have it checked further. She successfully had it removed.

The whole point of this is, we take our eyes for granted. We don't think that things can happen to the eye. It isn't talked about or discussed. But our eyesight is really pretty fragile. Our eyes can be affected just as any part of our bodies can, by disease or injury.

So take care of your eyes. They are the only ones you will have in this lifetime. You may need to wear glasses, like I do, and gripe about it, but think of how you would feel not seeing anything!

Your eyes are a precious gift. Remember that, please.

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