Ocular rosacea: patient characteristics and follow-up

Ophthalmology. 1997 Nov;104(11):1863-7.


Purpose: The purpose of this report is to review the presenting symptoms and signs, treatment regimens used, complications encountered, and outcome in a cohort of patients with ocular rosacea.

Methods: The medical records of 131 patients with a diagnosis of ocular rosacea were reviewed retrospectively. Data were entered in a tabulated form, and a descriptive analysis was performed.

Results: The age range at presentation was between 23 and 85 years (mean, 56 years). Cutaneous manifestations of rosacea were present in 112 of the patients at their first visit. The most common presenting symptoms were foreign body sensation and burning, and the most common signs were telangiectasia and irregularity of lid margins, and meibomian gland dysfunction. Thirteen patients had decreased visual acuity at the time of presentation due to corneal complications. Six of these patients required penetrating keratoplasty during the course of their disease. Seven patients had severe cicatrizing conjunctivitis at the time of referral. One hundred thirteen patients were treated with oral tetracycline derivatives. Seven patients were left with visual acuity less than 20/400, and one patient underwent enucleation for corneal perforation and endophthalmitis.

Conclusions: Ocular rosacea is a common disease involving the skin and the eyes. It is widely underdiagnosed by many ophthalmologists despite the blinding potential. Successful therapy requires a multidisciplinary approach.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cohort Studies
  • Eye Diseases / complications
  • Eye Diseases / pathology*
  • Eye Diseases / therapy
  • Eye Enucleation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Keratoplasty, Penetrating
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rosacea / complications
  • Rosacea / pathology*
  • Rosacea / therapy
  • Tetracyclines
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vision Disorders / etiology
  • Visual Acuity


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Tetracyclines