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What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a common skin disorder that affects one in 20 Americans-nearly 13 million people-but it is commonly mistaken for acne.  This skin disorder is characterized by redness, flushing, swelling and blemishes around the face.  It nearly always affects adults, much more commonly women than men, although men are often more severely affected.   Rosacea even cause overgrowth of the nose; WC Fields had advanced rosacea.   The cause is unknown, although  4 out of 10 people affected have a family history of this condition. 

Rosacea is not just a cosmetic problem:  in 6 out of 10 patients, the eyes are affected.  In a third of these patients, eye symptoms occur before skin changes:  watery, bloodshot or swollen eyes with a gritty, burning or dry feeling are common.  Sometimes inflammation of the eyelids or whites of the eyes may develop causing blepharitis or conjunctivitis or a stye.  These symptoms should be evaluated by an eye doctor and treated with antibiotics, cleansing agents and artificial tears.   Patients with skin symptoms should see a dermatologist for effective topical treatment.  For more information, click here.

Created: 10/24/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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