Skip Visine: Why You Need Oil-Based Eye Drops for Rosacea
Ocular rosacea is a subtype - form if you prefer - of rosacea. It doesn't present itself like the rosacea you know and most likely dislike. Ocular rosacea is a form within the eye. It's irritating and there is a slight chance it can damage the eye if left untreated.
Your eyes may appear red and bloodshot, but they don't have to. The most common symptom is a dry, scratchy feeling that drives most patients crazy. Essentially, it feels like you have an eyelash or piece of sand in your eye all the time with little to no relief.
You can spend hours trying to find that particle you can feel. It's not there. You can rinse your eye with Visine or a similar item, but it doesn't help. You might also find yourself grabbing sunglasses on cloudy days as even that filtered light seems bright to you. Wind and cold temperatures may also irritate the eyes. Dry heat feels awful to your eyes.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Ocular rosacea is most common in people between the ages of 30 and 50. It's also most common in people who have another form of rosacea. There is no cure, and you might find it improves and then returns with a vengeance. That's normal.
Visine Won't Help
One of the first things my ophthalmologist told me was to stop using Visine and similar anti-redness eye drops. While the eye drops may reduce redness, it's not going to help with the irritation. It's not going to help your symptoms.
One of the causes of ocular rosacea involves blocked oil glands within the eyelid. Your tears are a mix of water, mucus, and oil, and when your oil ducts become clogged, your eye is no longer getting the proper lubrication. Water evaporates quickly, so your eye lid has nothing to help it glide over the surface of the eye, thus the scratchy feeling.
An oil-based eye drop for ocular rosacea is critical. You need an eye drop that will add oil to your tears, giving your eye long-lasting lubrication. You want drops designed for dry eye symptoms; gel drops or gel ointments are ideal.
Brands of Eye Drops for Ocular Rosacea Worth Trying
With a little trial and error, you'll find the best eye drops for ocular rosacea in a store near you or in online in stores like Amazon.com. I have a few favorites that I'll share with you.
GenTeal Lubricant Eye Gel is a favorite. I prefer them first thing in the morning and before going to bed. They do blur the vision for a bit, so you can't drive until your vision returns. Why do I love it? It lasts for hours. It's one where I can use it twice a day and not need to apply more in mid-morning/early-afternoon.
Systane Ultra is my favorite for on the go. The bottles are small and fit easily in my purse's front pocket. It comes in a twin-pack, so I can keep one at home and have one in my purse, too. While it doesn't last as long as GenTeal, it's easier to apply and doesn't blur my vision.
Remember that what works for me may not be as helpful to you. I went through several brands and products before I came up with my repeat buys. Expect the same. The relief you get will depend on the severity. In my case, my doctor found my oil glands were 80 percent blocked. Yours could be more or it could be less. What is important is that you get relief!