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Do you have to treat rosacea?

Rosacea is a common skin condition, which can also affect your eyes.

Man with rosacea on eyes and nose
Rosacea in his eyes and on his skin: Treatment can alleviate the rosacea on this man’s skin and in his eyes.

When rosacea develops in your eyes, it’s important to treat it. Otherwise, you could develop problems with your eyesight. Your vision may become blurry. If you develop severe rosacea in your eyes, you might lose some of your eyesight. Catching and treating eye problems early can prevent these problems. 

Is rosacea affecting your eyes?

More than half the people who have rosacea develop eye problems at some point. If you have been diagnosed with rosacea, it’s important to pay attention to your eyes. You want to look for:

  • Swollen, red eyelids (most common sign)

  • Red, bloodshot eyes

  • Redness and swelling around your eyes

  • Crusty eyelids or eyelashes

  • Tearing (or dry eyes)

  • A feeling you have something in your eye

  • Burning

  • Itching

  • Sensitivity to light

Sometimes rosacea causes eye problems first — long before it appears on your skin. When this happens, you won’t have redness or other signs on your face. You’ll have one or more of the eye problems listed above.

Consult a dermatologist

If you think rosacea is affecting your eyes, make an appointment to see a dermatologist right away.

woman consulting with physician

As already mentioned, treating eye problems caused by rosacea can prevent you from developing problems with your eyesight.

Treating eye problems can also prevent a serious eye infection. Treatment can also prevent your eyes from feeling dry and gritty.

If you have crusts on your eyelids and eyelashes or swelling around your eyes, treatment can alleviate these problems, too.

Benefits of treating rosacea on your skin

When rosacea affects your skin, treatment can help you feel better. Treating your skin can:

  • Prevent rosacea from worsening

  • Help you feel more comfortable

  • Improve your self-confidence and quality of life

Without treatment for your skin, rosacea can become more noticeable. For example, the long-lasting flushing can become permanent redness on your face. Spider veins may appear on your cheeks. Some people develop acne-like breakouts.

Treating your skin can prevent these problems.

Treating your rosacea may also improve your mental health. Many research studies have shown that the constant redness, acne-like breakouts, and other signs of rosacea can lower a person’s self-esteem. People often say that they feel embarrassed by their skin.  Some people say they try to avoid contact with other people as much as possible because they feel ashamed.

When rosacea lasts for years, some people develop depression, anxiety, or both. Researchers have found time and again that as the rosacea lessens so do these feelings.

Worried your rosacea is not serious enough to treat?

People sometimes wait to see a dermatologist until their rosacea becomes unbearable. Dermatologists encourage you to make an appointment long before this happens.

The earlier you start treatment, the easier rosacea is to manage.

Related AAD resources

Used with permission of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. J Am Acad Dermatol 2004; 51:327-41.

Moustafa F, Lewallen RS, et. al. “The psychological impact of rosacea and the influence of current management options.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014;71:973-80.

Pelle MT, Crawford GH, et. al. “Rosacea: II: Therapy.” J Am Acad Dermatol.  2004;51:499-512.

Two AM, Wu W, et. al. “Rosacea Part II. Topical and systemic therapies in the treatment of rosacea.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015;72:761-70.

Vieira AC, Mannis MJ. “Ocular rosacea: Common and commonly missed.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2013;69:S36-41.