Why Are My Eyes Always Dry and Red?

Although most people associate rosacea with red faces and pimples, there is also a form of rosacea that causes dry or reddened eyes and eyelids.  People often have rosacea and do not realize it.  Getting started on the right skincare and eye care strategies can help minimize symptoms of blepharitis associated with rosacea.

One of the most challenging aspects of managing rosacea is that there is not a diagnostic test to tell you for cetain that you have rosacea.  The Baumann Skin Type Indicator Questionnaire utilized by Skin Type Solutions participating doctors can determine those at risk for rosacea.

If you have eyes that are frequently dry or red, you may want to talk to your doctor about possible eye concerns, and here’s why.

The Link between Rosacea and Dry, Red Eyes

A study published in Current Eye Research examined the eye health of 41 patients with rosacea, compared to a control group of 44 people without the condition. The study found that those with rosacea had a significantly higher incidence of what are known as “lid margin abnormalities” than the group without rosacea. These abnormalities include symptoms like visible blood vessels in the eye area, an inflammatory eye condition called blepharitis and eyelash loss.

Additionally, researchers found that eye redness (conjunctival erythema) and meibomian gland loss were also prevalent among people with rosacea compared to those without it. Meibomian glands are responsible for secreting the oil that lubricates the eyes and keeps them from drying out (Review of Optometry). Therefore, when these glands are damaged and unable to function properly, your eyes might feel dry and irritated because they’re not adequately lubricated.

Although not everyone with rosacea will experience eye-related symptoms, it may be worth seeing an ophthalmologist anyway to make sure that your eyes aren’t negatively affected. Of course, if you have noticed pain or irritation in your eyes and have the facial redness associated with rosacea, talk to your doctor.  There are new topical medications such as Rhofade (oxymetazoline) and Solantra (ivermectin) to treat rosacea.  

What Can You Do to Manage Rosacea?

In addition to using the prescription medications prescribed by your doctor, rosacea suffers need to use the proper skincare products.  Cleansers that are too drying can worsen both the facial redness and the dry/ red eyes associated with rosacea. It is important to discuss your skincare regimen with your doctor and only sue products that are appropriate for your Baumann Skin Type®.  In addition to using consistent and correct daily skin care, you should identify your rosacea triggers and try to avoid them. For most people with rosacea, triggers include sun exposure, emotion, caffeine, hot drinks, alcohol, spicy foods and intense exercise.

It’s also not uncommon for rosacea patients to feel isolated, withdrawn or depressed because of flare-ups of red, flushed skin. If these psychological health issues are a concern for you, make sure you bring them up with your doctor because new medications such as Rhofade (Oxymetazoline) are finally on the market. When I did the rosacea research trials on Rhofade, patients cried at the end of the trial when I had to take the remining drug away from them.  (The FDA requires that I do that at the end.)  This really made me realize how bothered people are by their rosacea and how pleased they are when it is under control

In Summary

You might not have associated the fact that your dry, red eyes can be caused by undiagnosed rosacea.  If you do have rosacea, see your doctor for new options to help treat this bothersome condition. Although there is no cure for rosacea, this condition doesn’t have to be difficult to control. By taking a comprehensive approach to managing rosacea, men and women with this condition can lead happy, healthy lives. Rely on the expertise of your dermatologist to recommend the most appropriate skincare products for you, and work closely with your PCP or other physicians to address eye, psychological or other possible symptoms. Find a physician to help you find a skincare routine to help with your rosacea.


Dr. Leslie Baumann, M.D. and her team at Baumann Cosmetic Dermatology believe in proof, not promises. World-recognized for both cosmetic and general dermatology, our treatment strategies rely exclusively on evidence-based, scientifically verified products and procedures that promote skin health and a natural appearance. We combine effective medical procedures with individualized instruction on proper skincare, nutrition, supplementation and lifestyle in order to maximize the health of the skin and body as a whole while minimizing the effects of aging. For more, visit Dr. Baumann’s blog for daily updates Monday through Friday, or inquire about an appointment through

March 31, 2017 Eye Issues, Rosacea