Acute Red Eyes
7 min read

Episcleritis & Scleritis

Published on
December 4, 2023
Related articles

Episcleritis & Scleritis

Often misdiagnosed as conjunctivitis, both episcleritis and scleritis are inflammatory disorders of the white coating of the eye that cause redness and pain. Any redness of the eye associated with discomfort should be seen by your optometrist so that the correct diagnosis made, and the most appropriate treatment commenced.

Episcleritis

Episcleritis is generally milder than scleritis and does not have the same potential to cause vision loss.1 This condition involves inflammation of the tissue between the surface of the eye and the deeper structural tissue (sclera). It can sometimes be isolated to only a certain sector of the eye. Instillation of a blood-vessel constricting agent like phenylephrine will shrink only the episcleral vessels and thus can differentiate episcleritis from the more serious scleritis.2 Most cases occur without cause (idiopathic) but up to 30% of cases may be related to a systemic condition such as inflammatory bowel disease or connective tissue disease.1,3 Most episcleritis is self-limiting but often your optometrist will prescribe Anti-inflammatory eye drops to speed up the recovery.3

Scleritis

Scleritis is a more severe inflammatory condition affecting the deeper collagen support of the eye – the sclera. Scleritis is often characterised by a deep pain, which can vary through mild to intense enough to wake you at night.1 Diagnosis is helped with examination under natural light - the deeper inflamed vessels have a characteristic purplehue.2 Fortunately the condition is rare, but like episcleritis, it can often be associated with underlying autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis,HLA-B27–associated inflammation, Wegener’s granulomatosis, polychondritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, inflammatory bowel disease and viral infection.1 The severity and treatment of scleritis varies depending of the depth of tissue affected, with some forms of scleritis carrying the risk of permanent visionless.

References

1) Sainz de La Maza M, Molina N,Gonzalez-Gonzalez LA, Doctor PP, Tauber J, Foster CS. Clinical Characteristics of a Large Cohort of Patients with Scleritis and Episcleritis. Ophthalmology, January 2012, Vol.119(1), pp.43-50

2) Watson PG, Hayreh SS. Scleritis and episcleritis. Br J Ophthalmology, 60 (1976), pp. 163-191

3) Jabs DA, Mudun A, Dunn JP, Marsh MJ.Episcleritis and scleritis: clinical features and treatment results. Am JOphthalmology, 2000, Vol.130(4), pp.469-476

Related articles

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.

View all
Acute Red Eyes
8 min read

Subconjunctival Haemorrhage

This is a common and often quite alarming condition that results in the...
Read more
Acute Red Eyes
7 min read

Keratitis

Keratitis is a severe and potentially sight-threatening condition that arises...
Read more
Acute Red Eyes
6 min read

Iritis & Anterior Uveitis

Iritis is a condition which involves inflammation of the iris within the eye...
Read more
Acute Red Eyes
2 min read

Dry Eye Disease

Dry eye disease describes a spectrum of conditions that feature ineffective l...
Read more
Acute Red Eyes
4 min read

Foreign Body Removal

Foreign material can become lodged on the cornea or conjunctiva...
Read more
Acute Red Eyes
7 min read

Episcleritis & Scleritis

Often misdiagnosed as conjunctivitis, both episcleritis and scleritis...
Read more
Acute Red Eyes
5 min read

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis (commonly called 'pink-eye') occurs through inflammation of...
Read more
View all

Speak to our friendly team today

Book your appointment now for personalised eye care tailored just for you.

Middle aged man using VR headset

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see what we’ve been up to!

Stay In Sight

Sign up to our newsletter for the latest in eye care, exclusive offers, and a peek into the future of eyewear.

By clicking Sign Up you're confirming that you agree with our Terms and Conditions.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.