What is the role of retinoids in ocular rosacea treatment?

Updated: Mar 03, 2020
  • Author: Jitander Dudee, MD, MA(Cantab), FACS, FRCOphth; Chief Editor: Edsel Ing, MD, MPH, FRCSC  more...
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Vitamin A derivatives, such as oral isotretinoin and topical tretinoin, have been found effective in reducing the inflammatory lesions in rosacea. This appears to be accomplished via the suppression of sebum production and a subsequent reduction in sebaceous follicle size. Additionally, tretinoin may help restore sun-damaged skin through the increased production of type 1 collagen in damaged regions. Both compounds can actually cause severe erythema and blepharoconjunctivitis, worsen telangiectasias, and lead to severe keratitis. Additionally, retinoids are extremely teratogenic and, thus, must never be used during pregnancy. Therefore, the use of retinoids is commonly reserved for cases in which multiple agents have failed.

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