Rosacea Review - Newsletter of the National Rosacea SocietyRosacea Review - Newsletter of the National Rosacea Society

Seeking Aid of Specialist Pays Off with Clear Vision

Robert Angsten, an Arizona retiree, had symptoms of rosacea for about six years when his wife first noticed some redness in the area of his cheekbones. A dermatologist diagnosed the condition as rosacea. Typical of older men, however, he was unconcerned about his complexion and viewed the rosacea as little more than a nuisance until it began to affect his vision.

When first diagnosed, Robert said his doctor prescribed a topical medication, which he thought was adequately controlling his rosacea. After about a year, however, Robert noticed that his eyes began to water. At this point the dermatologist determined that Robert had also developed a second subtype of rosacea that affects the eyes, called ocular rosacea.

His eye doctor prescribed a course of oral antibiotics for the ocular rosacea, but within months Robert's vision had deteriorated to the point where he had trouble reading the newspaper because of excessive blurring.

"I'm a crossword puzzle addict and I couldn't even read the clues anymore," Robert said. "That went on for a couple of months while I continued to see my regular ophthalmologist (eye doctor). He finally got to where he said, 'I'm throwing in the towel.'"

Robert's ophthalmologist referred him to another eye specialist, who diagnosed a malfunction of the oil glands in the upper lid, a common symptom of ocular rosacea. The specialist told him that a microscopic layer of oil over the cornea is essential in the eye's ability to focus. To unplug the glands, the doctor prescribed a short-term course of a carefully metered oral antibiotic and a steroid eye drop solution, followed by a maintenance program of artificial tears and a lubricating ointment.

"Through this combination, he was able to restore my vision completely," Robert said. "The oil glands in my eyelids seem to be functioning at near-normal levels now."