At my wits' end - eyes severely dry, even worse in social situations!

Posted , 16 users are following.

Hi, I'm 31 years old and have had rosacea since I was in my mid-twenties. I also have blepharitis/ocular rosacea. I currently clean my eyelids twice a day using blephasol lotion and a cotton pad, and usually do a warm compress/massage before I clean them at night. I have been on doxycycline on and off but I'm not sure it made a lot of difference. It seems that my eyes get more veins in them and get more swollen by the week, what am I doing wrong? My eyes are extremely dry and nearly every drop that I've tried (yes, preservative free) irritates them, so I've literally had to give up my hobby of video gaming and can only look at TV/anything with a screen for a few minutes at a time. Recently driving has also become a problem. I have depression/anxiety issues and my eye problems are so extreme I'm virtually house bound (I'm unemployed). Recently I've noticed that my eyes become much drier in any kind of social situation (even if a friend visits my eyes start to get sore and dry/swollen/red a few minutes after their arrival. Does anyone else experience this and is there anything I can do about it? I feel I'm just destined to be a loner because these eye issues have taken over my life. (I honestly blame roaccutane for both my rosacea and dry eyes/blepharitis, I took it way back when I was 17 for acne). Can I be helped or am I screwed? Eye doctors have failed to help me - one recommend i clean my lids with a mixture of original source shower gel (mint and tea tree oil) and water but it just made my eyes more irritated and caused more veins in my eyes. On the verge of giving up here!


1 like, 35 replies

35 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi...sorry you are having such problems with your eyes. I get blepharitis a lot and I found Johnson's baby shampoo on cotton pad with hot water was the best remedy. Recommended by a doctor of course. Didn't just make it up.

    But I wonder about the fact that your eyes are so dry and also that ypu have rosecea. Sounds a bit like auto immune dysfunction to me and I am particularly thinking of Sjogren's if your eyes are that bad.

    Who do you see with regard to the rosecea and could you speak to them about that??

  • Posted

    I feel so sorry for you!

    You are not alone, so please don't feel too depressed. I use tea tree oil mixed with baby shampoo and diluted with water and clean my eyes 2-3 times a day with a cotton bud along with drops as and when needed.

    I know you said tea tree irritated you so I don't know if this helps but I know it takes a good while to find something that works for you.

    I just hope you find your cure but until then just know you are not alone


  • Posted

    Hi,oh it is fun isnt it..not. i now usually just wash my lids with plain wayer,now and then will use very diluted baby shampoo. Just bought some occusoft wipes but have not tryed them. Have you tryed cold compresses? Thay really take the red out and the veins arent as noticeable. Im like you,only Im new to this,had it since mid march. I also have blurry vision daily that drives me nuts. As far as the tv and computer,try sunglasses. Yup I wear them in the house and it still lets me watch tv etc withou freaking out thinking how bright it is or blurry. Really helps with glare. Other then that I really am struggling with finding ways to feel better as doctors really havnt been much help. I was very social. I pretty much have been staying home. I miss life.Xx my family is coming for dinner,i get tense because of my eyes,i do have a few glasses of wine which I know might dry the eyes,but it brings back some normalcy when someone comes over. Nothing like sunglasses and a glass of wine. Ha ha.
  • Posted

    Mrpicky I too suffer more in social situations and using computer,phone etc.this could be due to not blinking enough.When you talk to people you keep eye contact and we tend to stare at screens also.Make a conscious effort to blink more.Drops sting my eyes too,even my prescribed ones off my doctor because I leave it too long in between doses,which makes my eyes sore.


  • Posted


    I feel your pain!  I am a 43-year-old male with blepharitis/ocular rosacea and the pain is unbelievable.  No one knows this pain unless they have been through it.  I have followed this board for a while and tired most of the suggestions with no luck. This pain consumes my life and causes a lot of depression for me as well.  I work full time and have a full and busy life but I suffer all day long with almost zero relief except for ice packs, hot showers and warm compresses.  Most of those solutions can’t be done at work so I suffer in silence getting through day after day in pain.  I will tell you not to give up and to push on and keep trying different solutions mentioned on this board and others.  Maybe something will work for you and you can share that with everyone else.  My hope is these drug companies will address this at some point or develop a procedure with a laser or some other means to correct this issue.  Hang in there and don’t give up.

  • Posted

    a dimes woeth of no tears baby shampoo, only one drop of tea tree oil, wah face keeping eyes closed. Use cool water. twice a day or three if needed. Really helps my eyes. The key to using tra tree oil is the right ratio. smile Dena

    • Posted

      God I wish it was that easy for me.  I think some people have a much worse condition than others.  For me that's like telling a cancer patient to take some Advil and it will all be better.  sad

    • Posted

      You use the same as me!

      Glad I'm not the only one.

      Tea tree and baby shampoo has been helping me after years of suffering!

    • Posted

      Its the only thing that helps me. Mark, I hope you find an answer. This is not pleasant, but I don't think mine is as bad as yours. Dena

  • Posted

    I'm also a rosecea / blepharitis / dry eye sufferer and I found the best eye cleaner to use is L'Oreal miscellar gel. Only use this one as its alcohol free. It's miscellar action clears away any debris and it's also cooling and keeps my eyes comfortable. Much cheaper than Blephasol too. 

  • Posted

    Ask your doctor or optician to check you eye follicles for Demedex. If you are affected wipe your eyes with Tree Tea Wipes as I found it very effective. With regard to blepharitis with which I also suffer I have found using Nivea Rich Nourishing Body Moisturiser (blue plastic bottle) on my face after showering in the morning. A small covering over my eyelids stopped the irritation.

    Hope it is helpful.

  • Posted

    Don't give up Mark.  Are you in the UK?

    I have also suffered with dry eyes for years & occasionally from blepharitis.  I also have an autoimmune disease that can affect the eyes, plus uveitis.  I was referred to Moorfields a few months ago &, amongst other things, the Consultant prescribed Azithromycin eye drops for a month in both eyes.  He also went through the cleaning regime with me, which was pretty much what I had been doing for years.  But he did tell me to use the heated eye pad prior to massaging my eyes.  

    I use a wheat bag that I already had & place it on my eyes after I have heated it.  Obviously you have to be careful not to burn your eyes!  After it has been on my eyes for about 2 or 3 minutes, I can feel the plugs in my Meibomian glands melting.  Prior to this, I had been using hot flannels, which is what my previous Consultant had told me to use.

    From my point of view, the Azithromycin drops help a lot for about 3 weeks after I have stopped them, so that is 7 weeks relief, before they revert to blocked Meibomian Glands & being very dry.

    Screens are not helpful!  That includes phones, TV, computers & driving, as you have discovered.

    If I have to drive any distance, I use a gel ocular lubricant before I set off.  It takes about 5 minutes to clear.  I can then drive up to 100 miles without having problems with my eyes.

    I use VitA-POS ocular lubricant but LacriLube is just as good.  They are available over the counter or on prescription.

    Are you currently under any Consultants?

    • Posted

      I should have said, Azithromycin drops are antibiotic drops.

      Doxycycline takes quite a long time to start to work but is also very effective.  I guess you took that orally?

  • Posted

    Dear Mark, it seems as though it has been many years since you have felt any comfort regarding your skin starting at 17 with acne. Roacutane is a very powerful drug which is thought to also affect young people psychologically whilst taking the treatment. It's not an easy ride. Are you taking meds for Rosacea too which have side affects? I'm told certain foods have to be avoided. Do you react to pollens and other allergens? Are you taking antihistamines which can be of help to Bleph sufferers though can exacerbate dry eyes. 

    Depresion and anxiety is something else you have to deal with which can heighten the extent of your eye condition. You must feel you are spinning trying to deal with it all. 

    You've probably been given all sorts of advice over the years which hasn't worked for you so far. All I can suggest is that you keep a diary detailing what you eat every day, how your eyes are and what treatments you are trying. What works and doesn't work.  Also note how you feel...stressed...angry...anxious. Are you affected by the weather. Wind affects my Bleph and other weather conditions too. Some environments make my eyes very uncomfortable. Writing on this forum can make my eyes itch and uncomfortable. White light in particular. Just write it down and don't reread it until the end of the month. If nothing else it might help unload the buzz in your brain and help you feel calmer. Relaxation, coping with anxiety,  tapes, and other help can be obtained freely from your library. You may also discover a pattern or connection with eye reaction to milk, dairy products for instance.

    Do you venture out at all or are you so self conscious you prefer to stay at home? As and when you feel you can would you consider voluntary work? People you would work with would be very understanding and accepting of how your eyes look. It would help build up your confidence.

    do blink exercises (100 each session) several times a day as this will help stimulate tear flow.

    Dark glasses can be of help though illegal to drive with. I've only this week got a new pair of glasses from my opticians which have a safe drive anti glare coating. Hopefully these will help me with coping with oncoming headlights, traffic lights, theatre, cinema and tv. When I am watching TV I make sure the room is softly lit too to counteract the glare from the tv screen. If I go to the theatre I'll try to book seats middle or towards the back so the stage lighting isn't directly in my eyes. I don't go to the cinema much at all as its so dark and the glare from the screen is too harsh. Concerts are a bit of a no no because of the strobe lighting. 

    Reading contributions on this forum make me feel lucky to have come to grips with the nature of my blepharitis. Others are suffering so much more than I am at the moment. I do the heat mask twice a day after shampooing my eyes with undiluted Johnsons baby shampoo followed by Carmellose eye drops. I've tried other eye gels and drops but they have made my eyes worse. It's taken two and a half years but I'm getting there.

    There is no formula for treating all Bleph sufferers. As it affects each person differently and everyone has to try all sorts to find what works for them. You have Rosacea too to take into consideration which adds to the confusion. Take it a day at a time. Be kind to yourself. You are not alone and all the folk on this forum will be rooting for you.  Best wishes


    • Posted

      Pamala, You have a kind heart. I wish their were more folks like you. smile Dena

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