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Rosacea - Complications of rosacea

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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Rosacea can cause complications that affect you physically and psychologically.

Eye problems

Rosacea that affects your eyes (ocular rosacea) can lead to a number of eye conditions.

Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids) is the most commonly reported eye condition resulting from rosacea. It can usually be successfully treated by adopting a daily eye-cleaning regime and by using antibiotic tablets and creams.

Up to one in 20 people with rosacea may experience symptoms that affect their cornea (the clear outer layer at the front of the eyeball). This can:

  • make your eyes bloodshot and watery
  • cause scarring of your cornea

In severe cases, if not treated, ocular rosacea can lead to vision loss. Your GP may refer you for treatment with an ophthalmologist (a doctor who specialises in eye conditions and their treatment or surgery).

Psychological and social effects

Any chronic (long-term) condition can have an adverse psychological effect, but rosacea can be particularly troublesome because it affects your appearance. This can change how you feel about yourself and how you interact with others.

Many people with rosacea have reported feelings of:

  • low self-esteem
  • embarrassment
  • frustration

It is important to come to terms with the fact that you have a chronic condition which, although incurable, is controllable. Persevering with your treatment plan and avoiding your individual triggers are the best ways of controlling your rosacea symptoms.

As your physical symptoms improve, you will start to feel better psychologically and emotionally.

If you have rosacea, take comfort knowing you are not alone. There are millions of people, in the UK and across the world, living with the condition. You can find support and information from organisations such as:

  • the National Rosacea Society, an American charity whose website has useful information and advice for people with rosacea
  • Changing Faces, a charity for people with facial disfigurements, who can be contacted on 0845 4500 275 for counselling and advice

Speak to your GP if you are feeling depressed as a result of your condition. They may recommend further treatment.

Medical Review: July 01, 2012
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