Acne in Your Eyes?

24 Feb

It sounds painful, and somewhat unlikely – but it’s true, you can develop acne in your eyes. Symptoms can range from burning sensations to red, scaly, or swollen eyes. This can often cause blurred vision, misdirected and missing eyelashes, and even the cornea may be affected. The cornea is the transparent part that covers the iris pupil, and the front of the eyeball. So what causes acne to spread to the eyes? There are a variety of possibilities that may contribute to this phenomenon. Certain medications used to clear acne may actually increase the risk for eye acne, and specific medical conditions may also increase this risk. Linked metabolic disorders like diabetes and other genetic conditions will affect vision in those with acne.

One form of acne, known as rosacea, is the most common type of acne to produce affects in the eyes. Rosacea is considered a chronic skin condition characterized by facial redness, and can spread to the eyes. Patients with diagnosed rosacea should see a doctor if they begin to experience dry, red, burning eyes, or light sensitivity. The redness may also be increased with the consumption of hot beverages or exposure to sunlight.rosacea-diagram-pictures

Doctors note that some of the triggers that may form acne in the eyes include exposure to temperature extremes, which can worsen rosacea, flushing of the face from exercise, stress and anxiety. Certain foods and drinks may also trigger rosacea, like alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods. Acne rosacea may contribute to certain complications separate from the condition itself. For example, dandruff and inflammation of the eyelids are not uncommon. Acne that affects the eye can be especially dangerous when it affects vision. This danger may become evident with reduced night vision in drivers, and the inflammatory response may even lead to bacterial infections of the eye.

While acne rosacea is considered a somewhat mild skin condition, once it begins to affect the eyes, it may be severe. Undiagnosed patients may even end up with scarring of the cornea from ongoing inflammation – affecting the glands of the eyelids. The good news is that acne rosacea is easily treated and even more easily controlled in the early stages. Antibiotics in conjunction with other acne treatments can be effective, while preventing the spread of the condition to the eyes. Doctors recommend avoiding prolonged periods in the sunlight, and maintaining proper facial hygiene with a regular cleaning routine. Warm compresses and soaking the eyelids will also decrease the risk of developing acne in the eyes, and it’s important to avoid certain acne medications, as these may worsen eye acne. For example, vitamin A derivatives prescribed for acne can contribute to bacterial infections, while sulfonamide-based cleansers can cause irritation, especially in those who are allergic.

Eye acne should be distinguished from infections known as styes. Styes are actual infections of the glands located on the eyelid. While styes can produce many of the same symptoms as eye acne, they are shorter lived and somewhat harmless. Styes also do not typically form from rosacea, but can be triggered by poor nutrition, sleep deprivation, lack of hygiene, lack of water, and rubbing the eyes. Styes can be prevented in the same fashion as the earlier discussed eye acne, with hygiene being the main factor in prevention.

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