Best Eye Treatments for Blepharitis and Ocular Rosacea
Around 2016 I found out I have blepharitis stemming from ocular rosacea. For years I’ve wondered why my eyes were often red, dry, and irritated looking.
Visine would temporarily give me a boost but after about 5 hours I would experience rebound redness which is even worse!
We all want those beautiful, bright white eyes. After all, your eyes are the first thing that anyone looks at when they meet you!
At first I thought maybe it was allergies, since I test so many beauty products to write about them, but my Dr. assured me it was not allergies (at least there’s that silver lining).
I decided to write about this because I know that many people probably suffer from this condition, and I wanted to share the eye cleansing routine that works for me, and some other helpful tips from my routine.
What is Blepharitis?
If you’ve found this post, you probably already know what blepharitis is, but in case you don’t, I’ll explain.
Blepharitis (Mayo Clinic link) is a common and ongoing condition where the eyelids become inflamed with oily particles and bacteria coating the eyelid margin near the base of the eyelashes.
Blepharitis can cause redness and irritation, and stinging or burning of the eyes. My main symptoms have been red eyes and dryness of the eyes, and eyelid irritation along my lower lashes.
My Dr. determined that I have “posterior blepharitis” which is a dysfunction of the eye’s tiny oil glands in the eyelids at the base of the eyelashes where they often get blocked. Those tiny glands are called meibomian glands and the term MGD means meibomian gland dysfunction.
Basically, he said that my oil to tear ratio is off which causes the irritation. When the oil glands are blocked, your eye is not getting the proper lubrication. This is why hot eye compresses to get the blocked oil glands flowing again is very helpful.
What is Ocular Rosacea?
Ocular Rosacea (see Cleveland Clinic link) can lead to blepharitis, and for me this seems to be the culprit.
Ocular rosacea often develops in people who have rosacea, and sometimes ocular rosacea is the first sign that you may later develop the facial type.
I’ve since been told by my eye Dr. that I do have signs of rosacea in my skin, which makes sense because I’ve always had pinkness in my skin and it gets red easily with the wrong products, or even from hot yoga.
What Helps Blepharitis and Ocular Rosacea?
So now for the fun part!
If you have blepharitis or ocular rosacea – how do you mitigate those symptoms so you can put your BEST face forward?
You can improve your symptoms greatly, but it takes commitment to a daily eyelid hygiene routine at minimum. This list comes from a LOT of trial and error and many trips to the eye doc!
Eye Lid Cleansing Routine
- Daily hot compresses with a washcloth on your eyes both morning and night, for about 2-3 minutes. If you get to a point where it’s a lot better, you can try just doing them at night time.
- Wash eyelids (not the inside of the eye, just the top and bottom lids and eye margins) with Johnson’s baby shampoo (or Aquaphor baby wash) mixed with a little water. I use clean fingers and also q-tips to rub the lash lines gently. Use a new q-tip for each eye.
- You can opt to use a lid scrub instead of baby shampoo to cleanse the lids. These are small square pads with cleaning solution already on them. Use a gentle circular motion and really get into the lash line. I really do prefer using the Ocu Soft pads but they are pricier than baby shampoo. They are just made for eyes so ultimately the most gentle in my opinion.
- If you wear makeup, use makeup remover first with a cotton pad before the eye cleansing routine or you will never get all the mascara off, which is a huge culprit for bacteria growth. I use the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water.
- Use the preservative free moisture drops 1-2x a day or as needed (the ones in the individual droppers with no preservatives).
- I’ve been using Refresh Optive Advanced. I did try the bottle type (which is cheaper but has preservatives) and it made my eyes sting, so I won’t use those anymore.
- Stop and blink 20 times quickly every hour! This helps coat the eyelids and keep them balanced. If you’re staring at a computer screen all day, this is especially helpful.
Supplements to Reduce Inflammation
- Take 2000-3000 mg per day of Omega 3 fish oil. I take the Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega which I’ve seen in most grocery stores. Fish oil helps reduce inflammation but it can take a few months to take effect, so be patient (and know that there are a TON of other health benefits of supplementing with Omega 3’s).
- Flax Seed Oil or Ground Flax Seed – this is also a good way to get Omega 3. I love putting a tablespoon of each in my morning smoothie. I like the Spectrum ground flax seed, and Barlean’s flax seed oil. I’ve settled into just using the ground flax because I like the nutty texture in my smoothie. Walnuts and chia are also great sources.
- I use MCT oil in my coffee each morning. MCT is a coconut oil extract and it helps my overall condition (and has other benefits as well). MCT is said to be the world’s healthiest fat source.
- Salmon is a great source of Omega 3’s and I usually eat it twice per week. Sardines, oysters, and mackeral are also great sources, but yuck. 😉
Eye Cream for Sensitive Eyes
Having blepharitis made me question the anti-aging products that I use on my eyes. Obviously I don’t use products that are going to irritate my already sensitive eyes. Like my eyes are hella sensitive, and they do get dry from the hot compresses.
I’ve been using the Beautycounter Countermatch Eye Rescue Cream, which contains no irritating chemicals and doesn’t irritate my eyes at all.
I use it both under my eyes and right on my eyelids. Beautycounter products are very calming, soothing and non irritating with no harmful chemicals.
I love clean beauty and try to avoid unnecessary chemicals, especially in my beauty routine with these eyeballs of mine!
Ok, so this is a super annoying condition! My eyes got a lot better for a while, I followed the routine above, and then got slack after about six months. Boy was that a mistake! I think I had my worst flare up ever. I want new eyeballs!!! 😉
I’ve learned that with this condition, you can’t ease up on anything. It’s chronic and there is no cure. You just have to keep your symptoms in check and learn what your triggers are. But sometimes you may need some help by way of RX meds.
I’m back on a strict routine and have gotten things under control but there are some things my Dr. added that you may find beneficial. This was a NEW Dr. and I’m so glad I switched.
Meibomian Gland Expression – He put numbing drops in my eyes and used a tool to squeeze the lower lash line to express the blocked glands. He said it was thick and came out like toothpaste – super gross. At least he got the oil glands “unplugged.”
Lotemax Steroid Drops…this has been a Godsend but I know I can’t use it forever since it’s a steroid. It has made my eyes whiter than they have been in a very long time. During my flareup, I used 2x day for a couple weeks, now I’m at once per day in the morning (typically only use 2-3x week now). Steroids reduce inflammation immediately.
Azasite 1% Azithromycin Eye Drops – I used this at night along my lower lids for a couple weeks during my flare up. At first it was a bit stingy so I would just put some on a qtip and gently apply to my inner lower lids. Now I can just pull my lower lid back and put a drop in. I like to do this JUST before bed, so I can just close my eyes. This will help fight infection which can all be a part of this blepharitis condition (bacteria builds up in those glands since they’re not flowing properly). During my flare up I used every night for a week, dropped down to 3-4 nights per week and did this for about a month, then stopped.
Now, I use Moxifloxacin – my Dr. says I can use this “as needed” and says “I’ll know” when I need it. I can definitely tell when my eyes get a little cranky. He said using it a couple times per week will keep the bacteria at bay and that it’s safe to use ongoing (since normally you build tolerance to antibiotics, but using it sparingly he says it’s OK). So, ask your Dr. what drops are best for you.
Eyelid self massage – After doing the warm/hot compresses, gently massage your eyelids and push up underneath your eye towards your inner lid, and do the same on the top. Rub downwards. This will help express the clogged oil in your glands. You won’t “see” it coming out, so be very gentle.
Face Steamer – I bought a Conair face steamer from Macy’s, you know – the old school ones! Sometimes I’ll do this instead of hot compresses. This will open up your meibomian glands and is great for your skin as well. I flutter my eyelids open and shut during the process. I also put a towel over my head to trap the steam in. Once you’re done steaming, you can do the eyelid massage. Once you’ve done that, be sure and use your eye wash pads (or baby wash) to cleanse your eyes as the massage and steaming will make the goop form in your eyeballs sometimes.
Makeup Changes – I actually quit wearing eye makeup for a whole week when I started this new regimen. If you’re having a bad flare up – give yourself a break from makeup. Also when it comes to mascara, I’ve always used expensive brands like Mac or Benefit. Mascara is the worst culprit to spread bacteria around your eyes. Now I buy a cheaper one and replace it every month. The three I like best are Loreal, Almay, or Clinique (if I want to splurge). Don’t ever wear eyeliner on the inside water line of your eye, you don’t want to layer on makeup RIGHT over your meibomian glands if you have problem eyes.
Pillow cases – Wash them twice per week, bacteria builds up on pillow cases quickly.
Eye Mask To Sleep – My husband sleeps with the overhead fan on and a small table fan (yes, two *facepalm*) so the air flow was killing me. I bought one of those masks from BBB that has the concave eyes so it doesn’t touch your eyelashes. This helped my eyes from drying out over night. Sometimes I would wake up and could hardly blink because they were so dry!! (For the record, once I was over my flare up and my eye glands were flowing a bit better, I found I didn’t need the mask, but in a flare up it might be beneficial).
Humidifier – I bought a small humidifier from BBB and keep it next to my bed and sometimes leave it on low during the night. I did this for a few weeks, but it didn’t seem to make much difference so I stopped doing it. But if you live in a very cold, dry climate I think it would help.
Eye drops next to bed – First thing I do now when I wake up is put a drop of the Refresh Advanced Optive (the single use ones) in my eyes to freshen them up. They are always the most dry when I wake up.
Anti-inflammatory diet – I’ve tried two ways of eating that have helped me the most. One is a keto diet (or keto’ish) and the other is just going gluten free and dairy free (I find doing either keeps me away from inflammatory foods). Dr.’s say that blepharitis is a chronic condition that you can’t cure, but you can certainly help it with diet.
If you reduce the inflammation in your body, you’re going to have less inflammation in your eyes, and rosacea is inflammation. Learning your food triggers (like alcohol, spicy foods, gluten, dairy, etc) can help tremendously.
There is a supplement I’ve been taking called Keto OS which is exogenous ketones drink that puts your body into ketosis which is exactly what the ketogenic diet does, but without having to follow a strict keto diet. I use the MCT oil in my coffee in the mornings, and drink one Keto Nat per day in the afternoon. It also keeps me slim so it’s a win-win!
Whitening Eye Drops
Ok so we know that Visine is a no-no when it comes to blepharitis, but if I have a special event like a wedding, or even a date night, and I want my eyes to really pop, I use Lumify by Bausch & Lomb, which you can buy at the grocery store or drug store.
It’s pricey, about $25 but it works like a dream, and was recommended by my eye Dr. and I don’t get the rebound redness, so hooray!
Here’s a recent picture of me heading out to a 40th birthday party. My eyes are NEVER this white naturally, but it is so nice to be able to use these drops for special occasions! My sister also uses these drops for her brides! (she’s a makeup artist, so it’s a bit of a trade secret).
If you’ve gotten this far, that means you’re likely suffering from blepharitis, and I’m so sorry because I know how frustrating it can be. But if you follow some of these tips I’ve given, I am confident you will see an improvement!
And I know this is a LOT to digest… just start with the cleansing routine and natural remedies and see if that helps, but if you’re really not getting anywhere, please see your doctor and get some prescription eye drops.
Do you have blepharitis? I would love to hear about the treatments that work for you, leave comments below!
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Thank you for all the great information ??Your picture is beautiful with the small amount of eyeshadow.
Thank you SO MUCH for writing this, I have just been diagnosed and felt so upset frustrated and hopeless. I am doing some of what you have written but not all. I feel like if I just stay diligent I can manage this!! I have an appointment with a dry eye specialist doctor and I am am sure she will also be able to help with the scripts. I thought anti inflammatory diet would help too! No doc wants to listen to me but I have pulled so many things out of my diet anyway thinking the same thing!! Thank you for the validation and the HOPE!!!
Cetaphil Baby Wash with Organic Calendula
Try Cetaphil Baby Wash with Organic Calendula. Daily use in the shower with gentle eye wiping helped condition improve in 4 weeks. Google, "Calendula for Blepharitis". We believe this is what helped our child after 2 years of antibiotics/steroid drops and 3 Optometrists and 2 Ophthalmologists over the 2 years. Hope this helps.
I have blepheritis and I identify with all the problems it brings. I believe the hot compress, express routine and cleansing are key to control.
I was surprised to read that you have not found the Bruder eye masks. They changed my life. There are little microwaveable bean bags that you can use on your eyes. They can be washed and reused for months. I have several pair and recommmed you give them a try.
I’ve been depressed since learning I’ve got this. You made me feel better!
I have also suffered from blepharitis (or possibly ocular rosacea) for years! It's such a frustrating and embarrassing condition. During a particularly bad flare up and when the air is really dry, I use cliradex wipes. They sting like crazy because of the tea tree oil but they really work! A humidifier in the winter also helps. When I'm not having a flare up, I use Steri-lid lid scrub for general eye cleanliness and maintenance. I still get flare ups sometimes but this regimen seems to help a lot.
This is such a frustrating condition- especially if you need to look your best for work. I’m so grateful that you’ve put this guide out there for people to follow. It’s taken me years to learn all these things. I’m excited to try Ketosis soon as well. As far as eye drops- Oculocin Propo are a Godsend- I don’t work for the company but they are definitely very anti inflammatory- huge help. They’re now on amazon. Hope this helps some one out there- diet is key! Meditation helps too!
Things to try!!
I am grateful for the suggestions. I have been exhibiting symptoms for about 8 months, appeared just out of the blue when I returned home to Alaska after a vacation. My eyes intermittently look terribly wrinkled, like I have suddenly aged 20 years (I am 62 and used to look quite a bit younger). My cheeks burn and appear red for days at a time and sometimes I wake up weepy. I was treated with a round of antibiotic, both oral and topical, but the condition reappears. I admit to being on the computer way too much during the election, and I managed my stress by taking vigorous walks outside, in the cold wind sometimes. I have an appointment with an opthamologist in January and hope I can get some answers. Thank you for more new things to try meanwhile!
Thanks so much for your blog! I’ve just been diagnosed and you have given me hope...and all the info...I need. Thank you!
User Questions and Answers
User Questions and Answers
Q: Hi! How long did it take to go away? I was diagnosed with blepharitis first. Did warm compresses and lid scrubs. Got second opinion. Told it was ocular rosacea. Again, like yourself, never knew I had rosacea. Still doing warm compresses and lid scrubs but this has been going on since July, and I'm feeling pretty hopeless. Thanks! -Ursula
11 out of 11 people found this question helpful.
Q: Wondering what Omega 3 capsules would be good for blepharitis. -Karen
9 out of 9 people found this question helpful.
Q: You state that "Basically, he said that my eyes overproduce oils and under-produce tears. Not a good combination,...". I was told the exact opposite, that my eyes over produce tears (which are drying) and under produce oil. My oil glands get clogged, which causes the oil to accumulate in the lids. This causes the swelling in the lids and eventually the oil glands respond by underproducing. TY for the info! -Jill
3 out of 3 people found this question helpful.
Q: Where did you find the aquaphor baby wash and shampoo? I have both eye conditions and my Mom had both conditions for years before she passed away. -Cindy
4 out of 5 people found this question helpful.
Q: I have blephritis. I do lid scrubs with baby shampoo and warm compresses. I have it as under control as possible but still have a little bit of (bags) Thinking of blepharoplasty but scared that since I have blephritis the bags won't go away anyway. Can anyone help?? -Samantha
3 out of 3 people found this question helpful.
What a very frustrating condition… everyday is a struggle… low grade burning, and the feeling that I’m looking through dirty glasses constantly and enhancing floaters everywhere I turn my eyes! My eyes feel sick. I have been to so many different eye specialists this past year trying to get to the root of the issue, but constantly told to just use an eye drop for lubrication. Eye drops don’t do a thing, in fact, I often feel they irrate further. Gucoma is prevelent in our family, so using or staying on a steroid drop is something I want to avoid. I have a drawer full of so many differnt eye drops its unbelievable.
Initially my regular eye doctor said he saw an overgrowth of demodex – he advised I wash my eye lids with regular Selsun Blue shampoo. All this began two months after going through chemo and radiation. The Selsun Blue worked after the doctor checked again. But then too, the development of blurred vision and burning in my eyes began, as well as dry nasal passages. Was referred to a specialist who prescribed a steroid drop without even looking in my eyes – he explained dry eye is common. That didn’t help at all and went back several times in hopes of finding out how to treat and what was even happening. Had retinal scan, all normal. Cornea healthy. Vision test excellent. Went to an Eye Institute and told it was dry eye, maybe ocular rosacea and was given yet another burrage of eye drops – nothing worked. Found a Dry Eye Clinic – had 5 rounds of IPL which didn’t help. One eye doctor suggested I see an a rheumatologist to be checked for Sjogren’s syndrom… bloodwork did not reveal any inflammation markers.
I am currently working with my Naturopath who listens and understands my concerns and is intent on getting to the issue. I use a Bruder eye mask twice daily and massage upper and lower lids afterwards, then gently wash the eye area with a mild soap, I use Avenova which feels helpful. Rubbing a light layer of organic castor oil around the eye orbits before bed seem to lessen symptoms as well.
At the beginning of symptoms, I was told it is a very complex condition and one that is often treated differently from one person to another.
Having forums like this is incredibly helpful. Dealing with this alone is lonely! Reading what has worked for others bring a sense of relief and hope. Appreciation to you Rachel for investing your time in doing this for others and to those who have also contributed – thank you!
Thank you for your message! (sorry it took me so long to respond). Yes, it is very frustrating and ongoing, if I slip with my routine, my eyes let me know it. If you’ve never tried the Cliradex wipes, you may want to try it. They are a little pricey but you can cut them in half because the pads are large and you don’t need the whole thing. These kill demodex mites and feel great on your eyes! It does burn a little (or a lot at first), but you get used to it quickly and it’s really refreshing (it’s the tea tree oil in it that can be stingy). It also helps all other aspects of blepharitis. I didn’t have the demodex type of blepharitis, but I wanted to make sure so I used them anyway and ended up loving how my eyes felt. You can order them from Amazon or the Cliradex website and you might try searching for a coupon first. If nothing else is working, and you’ve been told in the past it was mites, I would definitely give that a try. I’m sorry the Dr.’s haven’t been more help but read the reviews on the Cliradex on the Amazon site. You may just find some hope! Best of luck to you. xo Rachel
Hi Rachel, do you still use Elite Serum? If so do you buy it directly from there site? If you do not use it anymore what do you use?
Hi Tina, I actually haven’t used Elite Serum in a while, but I always loved that product since it felt like a gel/water, very gentle. In recent years, I’ve switched to Beautycounter. All their products are very gentle with no harsh ingredients or chemicals. Anything I can use right on my lids without irritation I do recommend on my blog. xo Rachel
I was wondering what kind of dr did you go to for the Blepharitis? The dr who got all that stuff out of your lids?
Hi Tina, my Dr. was an Optomologist, regular eye Dr. at an eye clinic. Good luck! xo Rachel
Hi, so I was recently diagnosed with ocular rosacea. Yay!
My worst issue is the constant removal of both stringy and non-stringy mucus/puss from my eyes mainly in the mornings. It is in the lower lid stringy, inner corner stringy and leads up to my upper lid where it is more watery mucus. There is also a lot of mucus in the upper lid top of eyeball.
I have found this Visine Red Eye total comfort ( Astringent, lubricant, redness reliever drops)
Active ingredients are polyethylene, tetrahydrozoline, zinc sulfate.
It really worked wonders for about 10 hours. Is this ok to use instead of steroids. Other than cleaning the insides of my eyes of all the mucus from the night there is no difference while using the Visine.
I do the lid wash/scrub. Have also had my myo glands expressed twice 1 month apart with heat.
The skin around my eyes are so tender and hurt so bad. Is there anything else I can do.
Will start Leto, fish oil supplement etc.
Thank you for this site!
Hi Barbara, thanks for your message! I would not use any Visine products, which is what my Dr. advised. These have ingredients that have a rebound redness effect. They always made my eyes feel horrible the next day or two. What he suggested I used was “Lumify” if you want to reduce redness for a special occasion. I do not use it everyday, but it works amazingly! For everyday moisture, use the Refresh Tears moisture drops, in the individual vials since they don’t have preservatives. You need to use a good eye cream without harsh ingredients. I love the Beautycounter Countermatch Eye Rescue Cream. It’s gentle and safe for contact wearers, and devoid of any nasty chemicals. I don’t know about you, but my eyes are UBER sensitive so there is a lot that I cannot use, but I’ve always done well with all of the Beautycounter eye creams (and moisturizers). Good luck! xo Rachel
great advise, thank you all so much, for the information and helpful tips. it gives me hope
I have suffered with a severe case of Blepharitis for past year plus. I started using Paul Mitchel Tea Tree Lemon Sage shampoo and within a week I saw a difference. At first I didn’t realize it was the shampoo but after ruling out supplements it became clear it was shampoo. I have no signs of Blepharitis since using this shampoo on a regular basis.
Hi Mara, that’s amazing! I actually did try a tea tree face wash for a while (one I picked up from Whole Foods) and it worked great… I know tea tree oil can kill the type of blepharitis caused by mites (not the kind I have) but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to use for a while just in case. I regularly just use the baby shampoo now. You might do even better using a face wash on your eyes but hey, if it worked that’s great! xo Rachel
First, my sympathies to all on this blog. I have been battling blepharitis for almost 2 years now. It’s a new condition for me since I moved to Florida, which was preceded by dermedix mites. My large green eyes had always been my “crowning glory” so to speak, and a feature for which I had always received many compliments. I’ve lived with skin conditions all my life so it was nice to have one feature, at least, that I felt positive about. Like others, Drs, have diagnosed my condition as blepharitis and offered similar protocol to cope. I’m following Drs.’ instruction, but I don’t see improvement in spite of spending a lot of time following recommended procedures. I thrive on walking, dancing, gym workouts etc. – all of which contribute to producing bacteria; having to be meticulous about cleaning eyelids seems is time consuming to say the least . I might add, due to large eyes my upper eyelid has many folds and creases which further contributes to the severity of blepharitis. I would like to know – are others are experiencing this situation?
Hi Michelle, sorry to hear you’re dealing with this… I feel like the drops (specifically Lotemax for me) helped get it under control, but I think doing an anti-inflammatory diet (ketogenic diet for me) has been what has basically cured me of this condition.
If it’s mites for you, then you should be able to kill those (try the Claridex wipes) since Florida doesn’t typically have those mites (Dr. told me that was more of a NE thing, I also live in Florida). I used the Claradex wipes just in case it was mites for me even though Dr. said it wasn’t, and I liked how they worked just from a cleansing standpoint (it’s tea tree oil solution pads that you just wipe your eyes with at night after cleansing).
So for me, taking a good quality fish oil daily, ketogenic diet, cleaning my brushes every few weeks (imperative), using moisture drops when needed, and never ever going to bed with a shred of makeup has cured my blepharitis. I no longer use an eye pencil on my inner lower lids either, there’s just too much bacteria that can get in your eyes. I am also careful to use more clean beauty products than not (non-toxic).
I still do warm compresses with a wash cloth when I remove my makeup, it’s just part of my routine. If you sweat a lot during your workouts, be sure to wash your face as soon as you can. I did take a break from ALL makeup etc for a full week the last time I had a flare up which was like 3 years ago.
My eyes still get red/irritated every now and then, but that’s usually because I get slack about cleaning my brushes. I hope you’ll find a routine that helps you. If you’re Dr. is not giving you good options, find a new Dr. I went through 2 before my 3rd one actually helped me.
The others just gave me some gross ointment which was just a steroid ointment which only temporarily reduced symptoms.Let me know if I can help, and good luck to you! Thanks for your comment, maybe some others will chime in. xo Rachel
Thanks so much! I am just learning this is what I have and it is a really painful embarrassing annoyance.
Hi Mia, I hope you’ve gotten some relief by now, it is quite an annoying condition. Thankfully I’ve gotten mine under control… every now and then I’ll still suffer from really red eyes, for which I cannot use any drops like Visine etc since it makes it worse. So… usually that’s a sign that I haven’t cleaned my brushes in a while or neglecting part of the routine for hygiene. Good luck! Rachel
Rachel, I’m thrilled to have discovered your blog! I too have blepharitis. My eye dr. did not prescribe lotomax, he only suggested hot compresses and made a comment about vanity :(. The skin around my eyes is wrinkly and creme (under eye). I feel like I have aged over a few months!! Doesnt lotomax come in a creme? What is best to use to repair the crepey, wrinkly skin?
Hi Andrea, sorry about your diagnoses….if my Dr. didn’t help me and made a comment about vanity I think I’d want to smack him 🙂 Lotemax are steroid drops, I don’t think it comes in a cream. Sometimes using an antibacterial drop such as the Asezite can also help get it under control. As far as the crepy skin I know what you mean. Especially when I first started doing all the hot compresses and all that I was way overdoing it all and really dried the skin out around my eyes.
I love the Beautycounter Nourishing Eye Cream – it’s about the most gentle thing I’ve used on my eyes and there are no chemicals like Parabens, phthalates, fragrance, etc. I can use it under and right on my eyelids. I have no problem with any of the Beautycounter eye creams. The other one I love is the BC Eye Rescue Cream.
Also, use Aquaphor baby wash to wash your eyes. The Johnsons and Johnsons has a bunch of toxic crap in it, added fragrance, and color dyes. It started to irritate me after a while. I also love using my little Conair face steamer, they are cheap and it does a good job. Good luck!! Rachel
Hi All, this forum has been most helpful. A few thoughts and questions about this horribly annoying condition.
1. Could this Ocular Rosacea be caused by some autoimmune condition?
2. Do any other ladies who suffer from Ocu Rosacea have a history of breast implants?
3. If this is due to demodex mites which are found on cats and dogs; how many of us sufferers own pets?
4. I used Rodan & Fields Lash boost just before this all occurred. I postulate that the prostagladins in the product stimulated this condition. Anyone else have a history of recent lash growth serum prior to Ocul Rosacea developing?
Good luck as we journey towards improvement and thanks for all the helpful suggestions.
Hi Brigit, that’s for your comment. Maybe we can get some other ladies to chime in, but I’ll give you my thoughts/answers to start.
1) I’m not sure on the ocular rosacea, I just know that does stem from inflammation and now that I have that under control in my body, my eyes are no longer much of an issue, I attribute that to the anti-inflammatory effects of the the MCT and ketones I take daily…there’s no other explanation. Of course eye hygiene is super important even still or I’ll get some irritations.
2) I don’t have breast implants…my cousin had to have her removed because it caused her to suffer from major auto-immune issues, scary. It’s been two years and she is still not recovered.
3) My Dr. told me Demodex mites weren’t an issue in the region of the country I’m in (south Florida) and I think they can see these under a microscope when looking at your eyes to rule them out. I did try the Claridex wipes “just to be sure” and I actually really liked them… maybe it just had an overall cleansing effect that my eyes liked but they were pretty stingy and you have to be careful.
4) I’m not a fan of R&F due to all the bad chemicals they use in their skincare and the prostaglandin in the Lash Boost is scary…did you know they was a class action suit against Rogan and Fields about this? I tried ONE lash booster years ago (different brand) one time and my eyes went NUTS with redness and irritations, never again. I’ve heard coconut oil on eyebrows can help with regrowth but you couldn’t use that on eyelashes as it would probably seep into your eyes and cause irritation. I have a lot of women try to get me to sign up and recommend it on my blog, but I can’t…I guess I should write some reviews on some of these products however. For non-toxic beauty as far as a great MLM goes, I love Beautycounter. I am a rep but don’t sell much, but do love the products. Their Nourishing eye cream is one I like using that doesn’t irritate my eyes.
Thanks again for your comment…by the way I had to visit 3 doctors before finding one that actually helped me. The initial doses of the antibiotic drops I do think cleared up any lingering infection I may have had, and I still use the Lotemax drops 2-3x a week just for good measure. Good luck and sorry you’re dealing with this! xo Rachel
Hi, I am also an ocular rosacea sufferer and I use tea tree oil soap to cleanse my eye lashes/lids and the hypochlorous acid spray from Curative Bay. I do have to use a prescription eye drop called Restasis for severe dry eye and it has really helped control my eye inflammation along with Refresh Mega 3 lubricant eye drops the best I have found after trying tons of different lubricant eye drops. It took me a long time researching and trying different things and like to hear other people who suffer from the same condition, hear what works for them so I can try too and share with others what works for me. Thank you for sharing such great tips!
Hi Paloma! Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you’ve found a routine that helps you the most, that’s great! It’s an annoying condition for sure, and I’m glad mine is no longer bothering me for the most part. 🙂 Thanks! Rachel
Comment for Ann’s post: Ann, my doctor told me not to apply heat to my eyes because it would aggravate the rosacea. I take pure, vision pro omega 3/omega six supplements. I believe you can order them from Amazon. I take three capsules daily. I also spray my eyes with Avenova, hypochlorite acid to clean my lids. close your eyes—do Not spray in eyes), massage upper/lower lids softly just above upper and below lower lashes ( be gentle. My dr. told me not to scrub my lashes with anything. mine have been falling out. ). After theAvenova I put in the eye drops named xiidra (also twice a day). Very expensive. But you can get a coupon that makes it reasonable. For use as needed at computer—I put NanoTears HA Preservative free in eyes. I have done 1 of 4 IPL TREATMENTS ( very expensive) to help reduce the roseaca blood vessels in my eyes, too soon to say how effective. Hope this helps Liz
I too suffer from this. My one lower lid is constantly clogged and inflamed. I have little whiteheads inside the lower lid. I will look into eyelid expression. I will also try the ketones and MCT oil you recommend. Are you also following a strict no carbs diet? What do you use to clean your brushes? How can I get samples of the Beauty Counter eye creams. I tried their face products and found some to be irritating so I’d like to try samples first.
Hi Theresa, have you tried antibiotics? Either Azesite (this is antibiotic plus steroid) or Erythrimicin (this one is super cheap, the other is not), you may need a course to clear up some of that, and the steroid drop helps me during a flare up – Lotemax. Definitely look into the MGD gland expression. I just use Eco Tools brush cleaner from Ulta. I do follow a low carb/keto diet which helps me a lot to keep the inflammation down, along with fish oil twice daily. I don’t have samples of the Beautycounter, but their Eye Rescue Cream is great, and extremely gentle. Depending on which face product you tried, it depends. They do have some stronger products with fruit acids which are very effective but can be irritating for sensitive skin. Feel free to send me a message if I can provide any additional help. This is a rough condition, sorry you’re dealing with it. xo Rachel
I’ve been researching this for a couple of weeks, have had the symptoms for a few months now but gradually getting worse. My primary care dr suspected rosacea, and gave me a round of antibiotics and said if it didn’t go away to see an optometrist. Well, I did and he only said possible thyroid issue, suggest the baby shampoo as my primary did, and that’s it. Finally saw another optometrist for vision check, diagnosed blephartis, and she gave me OccuSoft wipes, but they make my eyes worse. I prefer the baby shampoo also. I’m going to alter my diet, add supps and the keto and am hoping for the best. I feel so hideous and my eyes hurt, etc. Thank you, Rachel for your helpful information and tips. I am sorry for anyone else who has this, but at least I feel like I’m not alone. Love your blog!
Thanks Trish! It’s frustrating when Dr.’s don’t seem to do much, I think you read in my review that I saw two Dr.’s before I found one that actually helped me! But then he was blown away by how much the ketones helped haha! Everything helps, you just have to stick with a routine and figure out what works best for you. I like the Aquaphor baby wash better than J&J (has more chemicals and dyes). I don’t think the Occusoft are necessary, it’s just a more expensive way to clean your eyes in my opinion. If they didn’t give you Lotemax, maybe you could ask for that too if just the antibiotic drops don’t help. Good luck I know it’s super frustrating but I think you can improve it over time. Rachel
Forgot to add, TMI I am postmenopausal and about to turn 58.
Just wonder how much of the dry eye might be age related??
I am falling apart!
Phew!! Took a while to scroll and find where to post my comment. I ran across this blog while googling for info on my annoying dry eye condition! Thanks so much for posting this. It is helpful to read and see how everyone deals with this. I am currently having a bad bout and have even done the stupidest thing by digging out some older antibiotic eye drops and applying those. Currently without insurance and was just trying to avoid seeing the dr yet again. So I’ve busted out the drops that are due to expire next month and I opened a fresh tube of antibiotic lid ointment. Not helping much, so now I am sorry I started it all. Not sure what caused this recent flare up. I do have rosacea and just did a college campus tour yesterday with my 16 year old in 108 degree (yes you read that right!) heat (excessive heat advisory) in Austin, TX. So that can’t be good for any of this. I do hot washcloths on my eyes in the shower at night. Followed by scrubbing with some baby shampoo on the lids and lashes. I possibly developed a little irritation/infection doing this, which may have brought on this current bout. I use refresh drops w/o preservatives. Systane. Clear eyes. Do you see a pattern here. Desperation!!! I have had blocked glands. Very painful. Have stopped short of oral antibiotic, mostly due to the cost and no insurance. Try not to rub my eyes. I appreciate the info on the Omega 3 fish oil. I knew that could be helpful, but was unsure what dosage amount to buy. Will give this s shot. As I said, I am desperate. Wonder if warm/hot compresses are not the answer in the midst of this flare, with all the heat. All my issues are definitely looking more and more rosacea related and are just that, “flare ups” that seem to come and go with a vengeance!! So miserable. I regret using the stupid drops I am on now: the neomycin ploymixin junk. I just panicked and began using them bc it seemed like my eyes were infected. Although I have learned that many times when I think I have an infection, the dr says I don’t. Well, I have vented. Again many thanks for this blog.
Thank you for this article. I have only just been diagnosed as having blepharitis. Struggling since April thinking it was hayfever/allergy now nearing end of July! I have started some of the routine and it has calmed down a little but I have taken on board your comments on EVERYTHING because you make sense! So sad not to be able to use mascara on lower lids but will adhere to at least get back to some form of normality! Also – I have an underactive thyroid and have found articles that link the two – makes sense as the thyroid affects every part of the body and would slow down production of any moisture in the eye. So thyroiders out there – beware! something else that’s ‘all in your head’!!….
Hi Susan, thanks so much for your comment, I’m glad the info in my blog helped! I saw two Dr’s prior to the one I see now and they just didn’t give me any good advice or treatment, which is so frustrating. Once your eyes rebound a bit, I think you could try using mascara again, just be sure and throw it out after a month… I guess mascara is the worst culprit for bacteria, etc. Good luck! Rachel
Thank you for getting back to me regarding the eyelash loss. Thank you for your words of encouragement. I’ve been doing warm eye masks both morning and night. I think I will ease up and see if lashes return. Thank you for the advice on the fish oil supplement. Thank you for sharing your story and for answering my questions. Highest regards ‘Liz
Liz, you’re welcome – good luck!! Let me know how it goes. Rachel
Hi Rachel … Just found out with shock that after 6 and a half decades that ocular rosacea is what I may have😱 Felt the same as you that no way could that be true as I haven’t ever had regular rosacea … but after researching and dealing with the blepharitis that often comes with it, I’m finally coming to grips with this frustrating surprise. Soooo, thanks for all your info and found Lotemax, refresh single use non preservative drops and warm compresses most helpful too. For a while they had me on doxycycline as they said on low doses long term it would help. however the side effects did affect me, so i had to drop that effort. Definitely want to try the Ketone diet, it sounds like a godsend and go back to the Omega 3’s as well.
Was wondering in terms of mascara would you prefer waterproof, which is harder to get off, but does not dissipate around your eye during hot weather, sweat, or with allergies, and possibly get in your eye… and along with that, do you have an eye make up remover for mascara that you could recommend ?
Again, thanks for all the great info…. glad to have you as an advocate and warrior dealing with this completely annoying and frustrating pain in the neck (or more correctly, pain in the eye 😉
Hi Sharie, thanks for your message! Sounds like you have exactly what I have, I’m sorry you’re dealing with this! I’m glad your Dr. gave you the Lotemax. I generally don’t like using waterproof mascara unless I’m on vacation, but you do have a good point with the seeping. I’ve been buying multiple mascaras and just throwing them away after a month. I’ve heard that mascara can be the worst source of germs for your eyes so I usually just buy a couple at a time. However if you want to give that a try it wouldn’t hurt, and I like Beautycounter’s Instant Makeup remover. It’s made without silicon or mineral oil and there’s nothing toxic in it. It just melts the makeup away and leaves your eyes feeling soothed. Keto diet is something to try, I have a hard time sticking with the strictness of a ketogenic diet so drinking the Keto OS ketones for me has been my savior! Good luck, I hope you find a regimen that keeps your issues at bay! I truly do believe that if we can fight the inflammation from the insides of our bodies, we can mitigate this condition or even make it go away for the most part. Thanks! Rachel
Just diagnosed with ocular rosacea this week. I have lost eyelashes on both upper and lower lids. Can you recommend anything to replace the eyelashes. Thank you Liz
Thanks so much for your blog. And for your sharing your routine.
Hi Liz, so sorry you’re dealing with this! I was losing some lashes when this condition first flared up and I think it was more due to being too rough in my routine, using water that was too hot and just doing too many hot compresses. They eventually grew back once I eased up. I can’t use those lash enhancers at all really, I’ve tried several and the harsh chemicals immediately just irritated my eyes and turned my lids bright red. A good volumizing mascara that nourishes those lashes with no harmful ingredients could help. I like the Beautycounter volumizing mascara and I use a lot of BC products on my eyes since they don’t use toxic ingredients. I know the lashes can fall out as a result of the eyes being inflamed and if you have any kind of infection that can make your lids swollen they fall out more easily. I think once you get your flare up under control and stick with a gentle hygiene routine your lashes will grow back. Some good vitamins and fish oil could also make a difference and help with the inflammation. Good luck!! Rachel
I am using tea tree oil soap, Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Oil Shampoo and Conditioner…..excellent. Tea tree kills bacteria, fungus, virus and these eye mites.
Gail, thanks for your comment. I’ve also used some tea tree oil facial soaps, but when I found out my blepharitis was not caused by the mites, I opted for my more gentle cleanser. But I do love the benefits of tea tree oil, there are many! ~rachel
I’ve recently need diagnosed with ocular rosacea ans this is so so helpful! Thanks for all the tips , suggestions and the support
Xo Kristina Toto
Kristina, thanks! Glad it was helpful. I havne’t had a flare up in so long, but currently am! So frustrating! Back to the basics… xo Rachel
Hi I have diabetes and take insulin as well metformin can I take keto I have blepharitis as well
Jeta, which type of diabetes? Keto and ketogenic diet is known to cure Type 2 diabetes, but Type 1 you would want your Dr.’s supervision on giving it a try, because you’ll need to adjust your insulin along the way. I’m sorry I can’t advise. Good luck! And you can email me at [email protected] if you’d like to chat more. Rachel
I have had this for about 3 months I believe. Doctors keep saying allergies are what it is but those drops don’t help. What are the exact eye drops you use? Are they safe to use daily!? I also have a very dry eye lid. Looking for any suggestions!
Hi Brooke, Lotemax are the drops I use…. I don’t even need to use them anymore but it is an antihistamine/steroid drop so if your eye problems are allergy related maybe it’ll help. They are safe, however since it’s a steroid they do a periodic check to make sure it’s not changing the pressure in your eyes. I never had a problem and I used it like four months straight. Ketones have worked the best and have reduced all the inflammation in my body which cured my blepharitis/ocular rosacea, good luck! Rachel
I’m from Brazil and just to say that I loved your tips.
Thanks a lot.
Thanks Gil! It does get better if you can stick with a good hygiene routine and eat anti-inflammatory foods or supplements. Good luck! Rachel
Hi. To start. I am 94 years old. Have suffered from gastric concerns for many years resulting in 2 episodes of bleeding ulcers (bad stuff). Addicted to sweets (also bad stuff). Restless nights with little sleep. Developed rosacea about 30 years ago; used all kinds of medications to no avail.
Recently developed blepharitis caused by rosacea in the eyebrows. Developed the following routine.
Cut a 10 mg. Famotidine in half to reduce stomach acid plus a 12.5 Trimipramine in half as a sleeping aid and take both just before sleep. Additionally eat nothing after 6pm and drink just a bit of water with the aforementioned medication. Now sleep 7 to 8 hrs. each night PLUS the rosacea has almost disappeared! Blepharitis is next in my sights. Thank you for all the good tips.
My 2yr received this exact diagnosis in November 2017. Our eye specialist said her case was one of the worst he had seen. I dont recall him diganosing an actual stage of severity.
We have been treating with OTC Hypochlor spray (morning and night). It helps kill bacteria in the eye. Its been wonderful! Ive only been able to find it on Amazon. We were also prescribed Restasis (4x/day) along with Lotamax. I would be curious to try the OTC drops you’ve listed.
Has anyone experienced nasty skin breakouts? My child gets nasty whiteheads out of nowhere. It doesnt look like your typical rosacea diagnosis, so curious if these are linked. I would assume if you have overactive oil glands in your eyes, you’ll more than likely have them on your face.
Hi Shellee, I’m so sorry – you have a two year old dealing with blepharitis and rosacea? What’s helped very much for me is following a low carb/high fat more ketogenic diet since it’s anti-inflammatory. I use the Lotemax drops in the morning and mine has stayed under control doing the other things I mentioned on my blog post. Could your little one be having too much sugar/carbs? Rosacea is inflammation so if you can treat the root of the problem, I think you may be able to help it some. Good luck! Rachel
I to, have severe dry eyes and have battled it for years. I treat mine in many of the ways you do but the best thing I ever did was getting scleral lens. I get 100 percent relief and can wear my eye makeup as long as they are in. I’ve been wearing them for eight years now. I think I could write a book about the experiences I’ve had with this disease, The lenses are quite expensive but worth every penny.
Wow, never even knew these existed, thanks for sharing Jane. Mine is under control so thankfully I don’t need these. Rachel
This is not a question. It is a definative answer to curing Blepharitis. Steralize a dropper bottle. Take Manuka Honey K factor 22. Put one or two small scoops of the Manuka Honey in a small clean pot. Warm until it liquifies. Add a teaspoon of salt. Pour the mixture into the dropper bottle. You can slightly dilute it with a small amount of distilled water. Put one drop in eye when needed. This will clear your Blepharitis in about a week. It will cure it over a number of months. it is incredible how effective Manuka Honey is for Blepharitis.
George, I’ve heard of using Manuka oil to help with blepharitis, thanks for sharing. I personally have not tried it, my Lotemax drops have been my savior, as well as keeping my eyes clean. Thank you, Rachel
Thanks for your article!
I’ve been suffering from this condition for 2 years now!! Like you it would get under control and I would lay off on the treatment!
I just purchased a gel cleanser called blepagel! Just started it today hoping it helps! I’ve also started wearing the One Two magnetic lashes and no liner! Eyeliner is the worst to use when your eyes are flared up!
Thank for your update. I’m going to try some of those you suggested!!
Thanks for your comment Suzanne, and good luck with the new stuff! I’ve been wanting to try those magnetic lashes, I’ll have to find some. Rachel
P.s. I honestly think the Lotemax steroid drops make the most difference, I use them once a day in the morning, I hope I never have to stop using it… 🙁
I have severe dry eye my dr told me I produce tears that lack the oil needed to lubricate without burning. I’ve found that the baby shampoo on my eylids help a lot along with useing cold pressed organic castor oil.
Hi Felanie, glad you found something that helps. Have you tried supplementing with fish oil? My Dr. told me that it can take a few months to really help but adding some fats to your diet could help increase the oil production. Good luck, and thanks for your comment. Rachel
Blepharitis Treatment : Apply pure honey on eye lids before sleeping at night just like Kajal ( COLLYRIUM ) and wash it with luke warm water in the morning.
Even if Honey goes inside eyes no issues. it will automatically come out with water there by cleansing it !
Check for purity of honey (without sugar): the eyelids wont be very sticky that you will find it hard to open , when you apply a pure honey.
I am using the honey treatment and its very effective.
Note : you can also add a pinch of turmeric (haldi) in honey and make a paste for applying on eye lids
Thank you for all your advise !! I follow the same routine as you . When I run out of eye drops I discovered if you have a half cup of warm water with a 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda you can rinse your eyes with this solution and it will sooth your eyes without irritation .. great for a temporary solution!!! Thx for your advice I think I might try your suggestion on eye cream as I’ve tryed every expensive and inexpensive cream for my eyes and just simply gave up because they all irritate .. Wish me luck !! Diane from CT..
Thanks for sharing this. I also suffer from blepharitis and I’ve been looking for a good Omega 3 supplement, I will try the Barlean’s brand. Are you able to wear makeup over the Elite Serum and does it help for wrinkles around the eyes? I have to wash so much the skin around my eyes has become very dry.
Hi Rheanne, thanks for your question. I’ve actually been using Elite Serum for over a year now, so I know it works to reduce wrinkles and provide moisture to the delicate eye area. When I first had my flare up, I stayed away from makeup for about a week, but I did go back to using it and haven’t had another flare up. After the lid cleansing routine, I just lightly pat the Elite Serum under my eyes and on my eyelids, allow it to dry for a couple of minutes and then apply my makeup as usual. Another thing you’ll want to do is routinely clean your eyes shadow brushes to remove bacteria.
Rheanne, yes the Elite Serum does wonders for wrinkles around the eyes, and it’s as gentle as water. You can apply your makeup as normal and it won’t ever run into your eyes or feel irritating. I know what you mean about dry skin around my eyes from washing and hot compresses – I reapply small dabs of eye serum even over my makeup sometimes for added moisture.