Your eyes are red and itchy again. You grab the Visine. No matter how many drops you apply, the relief doesn't come. Here's why Visine for rosacea is never going to help you.
Understanding What Causes Rosacea in the Eye
To understand why ocular rosacea isn't helped by Visine, you need to first look at what ocular rosacea is. It's all about the fluid on the surface of your eye.
Many parts make up your eye. The outermost layer is your conjunctiva and then the cornea. Think of those as a thick layer of cells that keep the aqueous humor from leaking out. Beyond that are your pupil, iris (the colored part), and lens. Beyond the lens are is the other type of eyeball fluid (vitreous humor) and parts like the retina and optic nerve.
The conjunctiva and cornea are made up of cells. Like is true of any cell, they need moisture to stay healthy. The moisture comes from a tear mixture known as the tear film. Basically, the tear film is made up of mucus, water, and oils. Those liquids come from the lacrimal gland (water production) and the meibomian glands (oil production).
When the eye is healthy, it produces mucus, oil, and water regularly. The right mixture keeps the eye lubricated throughout the night and day. When you have rosacea and it goes to the eyes, ocular rosacea impacts the quality of that lubrication. The inflammation can close the meibomian glands and prevent enough oil from mixing with the water. As a result, the eyes feel dry and scratchy.
The Purpose of Visine
Visine and similar eye drops contain water and medications that help ease the redness. When you add water to the already watered-down tear film, you're not helping restore lubrication to the affected eye. The only way to help is through lubricating rosacea eye drops.
What Makes Rosacea Eye Drops Different?
Eye drops for rosacea contain oils that help boost the oil levels in the tear film. This is essential for easing the itching and dryness caused by rosacea. There are several products on the market, so you may need to test several brands to find the one that works best for you.
In addition to lubricating eye drops for ocular rosacea, you need to keep your eyelids clean. A gentle eyelid wash or eyelid wipes will help. Specialists will also tell you to use a warm compress twice a day for up to 30 minutes each time. This helps ease gland blockages and may help keep stys from forming. The final step is to take fish oil and flax oil supplements to increase the omega-3 fatty acid levels in your body.
These are the products that work best for me. Depending on the season, I will switch lubricating eye drops. Spring pollen and the dry air in winter can really make the itching unbearable, so I'll often switch to an eye gel for rosacea instead of relying on eye drops. It just seems to last longer.