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Diseases reference index «Episcleritis»

Episcleritis is irritation and swelling (inflammation) of the episclera, a thin layer of tissue covering the sclera of the eye.

Causes

The sclera is made up of tissue fibers that form the strong white wall of the eye. It is covered by the episclera, a thin layer of tissue that contains many blood vessels that feed the sclera.

Episcleritis is inflammation of the episclera that occurs without an infection. It is a common condition that is usually mild and rarely progresses to scleritis.

The cause is usually unknown, but it may occur with certain diseases, such as:

  • Herpes zoster
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjogren syndrome
  • Syphilis
  • Tuberculosis

Symptoms

  • A pink or purple color to the normally white part of the eye
  • Eye pain
  • Eye tenderness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Tearing of the eye

Exams and Tests

An eye examination can usually diagnose the disorder. No special tests are usually necessary.

Treatment

The condition usually disappears without treatment in 1 - 2 weeks. Treatment with corticosteroid eye drops may relieve the symptoms faster.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Episcleritis usually improves without treatment. Treatment may shorten its duration.

Possible Complications

  • Rarely, scleritis may develop
  • The condition may return

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of episcleritis that last for more than 2 weeks. Get checked again if your pain worsens or you lose vision.

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