Rosacea is a common chronic skin condition characterized by symptoms of facial flushing, redness, visible spider veins and an adult acne-like condition. In some individuals, there can be eye or eyelid irritation. Rarely, in severe untreated cases of rosacea, the nose can become enlarged and bulbous.
Rosacea tends to occur in fair skinned patients, frequently of English, Irish or Scottish descent. It may occur in men and women. Menopause is often the time when women notice the signs and symptoms of this condition. The cause of rosacea is not completely understood at this time.
Rosacea symptoms flare up periodically, and tend to worsen over time. The first stage, known as pre-rosacea, involves flushing and redness; the second stage, called vascular rosacea, involves the appearance of spider veins; the third stage is inflammatory rosacea, where acne-like pustules may develop. If the disease progresses to the eyelids and eyes, it is referred to as ocular rosacea.
Rosacea symptoms can be triggered by a number of factors including: drinking alcohol, especially red wine, eating spicy foods and exercising strenuously.
Treatment may consist of a variety of topical creams, low-dose oral antibiotics and avoidance of certain foods. Ocular rosacea may also be treated with oral antibiotics, prescription eye drops, as well as warm compresses and thorough cleansing of the eyelids.