Do you have a history of rosacea in your family? If the answer is yes, you will want to keep an eye out for signs of ocular rosacea in your child. This form of rosacea is marked by redness, itching, and burning in the eyes, and it can develop in toddlers as young as 12 months old. Family history is a major risk factor, giving children an estimated 40% chance of developing ocular rosacea, according to one survey by the National Rosacea Society.
Rosacea or Dermatitis?
Although childhood rosacea was once thought to be a rare and uncommon condition, more doctors are starting to observe childhood rosacea in youngsters with a similar skin disorder called periorificial dermatitis. Frequently diagnosed in children, this skin condition is characterized by small clustered bumps and pimples around the mouth, chin, and occasionally the eyes. Though some consider it to be completely separate from ocular rosacea, the same treatment has been effective for both disorders.
One Australian study of childhood rosacea patients in 2009 focused on three case studies of toddlers who were initially diagnosed with periorificial dermatitis. All three children were successfully treated with the long-term use of oral erythromycin, an antibiotic used to treat rosacea. The study concluded that children diagnosed with periorificial dermatitis may actually have ocular rosacea.
Signs to look out for in your toddler or child are the same as for adult rosacea, but with more emphasis on eye symptoms, such as redness around the eyes, eye pain, and swelling of the eyelid. The authors of the 2009 study argue that childhood rosacea can be diagnosed by the presence of just one adult symptom. The difference between childhood rosacea and periorifical dermatitis is that the former will include symptoms of adult rosacea. Unfortunately, periorificial dermatitis typically begins with eye symptoms, which can lead to misdiagnosis.
Consulting a dermatologist early on can help contain and treat ocular rosacea in your child. By modifying diet, treatments, and environmental factors that trigger rosacea, your child may be able to better manage and minimize this skin condition in their teenage and adult lives.
Because rosacea is a form of sensitive skin, a key step in minimizing rosacea symptoms is using appropriate skin care. Riversol’s dermatologist-developed line of skincare products have been created specifically for individuals with sensitive skin.
Please check out some of our other resources on rosacea here:
Hong, E and Fischer, G (2009). Childhood Ocular Rosacea: Considerations for Diagnosis and Treatment. Australian Journal of Dermatology (2009) 50, 272-275. Australasian College of Dermatologists.
Rosacea Review (1999). Rosacea.org: The National Rosacea Society.
Will your children have rosacea? Full text: http://www.rosacea.org/rr/1999/fall/article_2.php