What to Expect From a Doctor Visit

You've had enough of your red face, but thoughts of going to the doctor to see treatment are terrifying. The redness, pustules, enlarged spots on the nose, and the dry, itchy, red eyes are far worse that what will happen at the doctor. Here's what you can expect:

Trip to the Family Doctor

It's unlikely that you'll get to see a dermatologist without first talking to your doctor. Many insurance companies require a doctor's referral before they'll consider covering you for dermatology appointments for rosacea.

At your doctor, you'll go through the typical check of your height, weight, pulse, and blood pressure. That part takes minutes and then you simply are going to sit and talk. Most doctors now have computers with them during the appointment. You'll likely be asked these questions:

  • Do you experience facial redness, raised spots, pustules, dry or itchy eyes?
  • How often do the symptoms occur?
  • Are there foods, environmental causes, or situations where the red, flushed face are worse?
  • Is there a family history of rosacea?
Your doctor will then look at your skin and see if he/she agrees that you have the signs of rosacea and which subtypes are present. At this point, you might be given a plan of action to follow as a red face solution, or you might be referred to a dermatologist or even opthamologist (for ocular rosacea) for another consultation.

At the Dermatologist

A trip to the dermatologist for rosacea isn't difficult or stressful in most cases. The doctor will look at your skin and begin to discuss potential triggers, offer recommendations for facial creams, soaps, cosmetics, and medications, vitamins, minerals, or homeopathic treatments you can use to help alleviate the symptoms of rosacea.

Expect to go back for follow-up visits as you start to narrow down the triggers that seem to make rosacea worse and to see if the medication or homeopathic treatments for rosacea are working. Once you've narrowed down your triggers and have medications and a diet working, yearly check-ups may be all that is needed.

Seeing an Opthamologist for Rosacea

If your doctor feels you do have ocular rosacea, you'll be referred to an opthamologist. Left untreated, there is a chance that the rosacea in your eyes can damage the cornea. It's essential to see an eye doctor to confirm that you do, in fact, have ocular rosacea, and to see if the cornea has been damaged yet.

Have someone else drive you to this appointment. It's unlikely you will be able to drive home by yourself. Also, bring a pair of sunglasses, as you will need them for the ride home, even if it is cloudy outside.

The first part of a visit with an opthamologist involves having your vision checked. Expect to read a few lines of an eye chart to get a base reading on where your vision is. After this, you'll sit down and talk to the opthamologist.

During this visit, he or she will look at your eyes. Numbing eye drops and eye drops that dilate the pupil are used during this part. You will have your inner eyelids closely examined with a special light to see if the glands that release oil to mix with your tears are blocked, which is common in ocular rosacea. You'll also have a moisture strip placed in your eye for a couple of minutes to measure your tear production. With this test, you must sit still with your eyes completely closed, so consider bringing music to listen to during this portion.

Listen to what your opthamologist recommends and follow his or her instructions closely. Some cases are mild enough that you will not need to take antibiotics. You will likely be told to use an oil-based eye drop a few times a day, warm compresses twice a day, carefully wash the eyelids with special wipes, and take fish oil and flax seed oil supplements to help alleviate the symptoms of ocular rosacea and prevent damage to the cornea.