Blepharitis, or inflammation of the eyelid, can often accompany rosacea and the reason is often the same reason as to why the rosacea is occurring: demodex mites.
While there are certainly many other causes of ocular rosacea besides demodex mites, it is one which should be considered. I started to notice my eyes becoming very dry in the past two years, around the time my rosacea symptoms worsened, but I didn’t make a connection. I went to two different eye doctors complaining of dry eyes, blurry vision, redness, and frequent irritation. Both doctors looked at my eyes, prescribed hydrating eyedrops, and said I was simply getting older. That didn’t sound quite right to me but what did I know? I wasn’t an eye doctor.
When I began my very precise and thorough research of rosacea I began to read about ocular rosacea, or redness and irritation of the eyes, often associated with rosacea of the skin. All of the medical websites I read (healthline, mayo clinic, WebMD) said the same things I had always read about rosacea: no one knows why it happens, and there is no cure.
Luckily I eventually stumbled upon information about demodex folloculorum and demodex brevis, the two types of demodex mites which live in the hair follicles and pores of humans. (I know it sounds terrible, but they actually live on all humans, and the population grows as we get older.) So I went back to Google and searched “optometry” and “demodex” and found some fantastic products made especially for your eyelashes to kill the demodex population in the follicles of your eyelashes, thus curing your blepharitis. After discussing this with a new eye doctor, I was told to use a foam called Ocusoft Oust which can be applied each night to your lashes, then wiped off. I would only recommend using a product especially made for eyes and following the advice of your own eye doctor.
I used the eye foam in conjunction with a topical demodex mite treatment on my skin, while I was focusing significantly on reducing internal inflammation through dietary changes. I will never understand why two eye doctors and three dermatologists never mentioned the existence of demodex mites to me. I’m starting to think they simply don’t know, or if they do know, they are not supposed to tell us. Either way, it turns out the solution for me was very simple, and I am thrilled that my eyes no longer itch or burn, turn red, or feel irritated. And I haven’t used my prescribed hydrating eye drops in years.
Always discuss any new products with your eye doctor and dermatologist before use. There are many other causes of ocular rosacea which are NOT demodex mites, and this is a condition which cannot be self-diagnosed.