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To find out if you have scleritis, your doctor checks your vision. He or she carefully examines your eyes. Your doctor also asks about other symptoms like joint pain or fevers. You may have tests and X-rays to look for medical problems that can cause scleritis. When scleritis is in the back of the eye, it can be harder to diagnose. Treatment focuses on reducing the inflammation.


If the problem is severe, a steroid medicine may help. You may also need medicine to treat the cause, such as an antibiotic for infection or medicine for immune system problems. With treatment, scleritis can sometimes go away in a few weeks. But it can last longer, even years. Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems.

It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take. Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:.

Posterior Scleritis: A Diagnostic Challenge

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:. Enter C in the search box to learn more about "Scleritis: Care Instructions". Author: Healthwise Staff. Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. If the inflammation continues, the dosing frequency may be increased or the patient can be switched to a more potent topical steroid.

Before initiating any treatment, clinicians should first determine if the scleritis is infectious, as drugs such as oral steroids may worsen the condition. A thorough history into any ocular surgery or trauma should be obtained as well.


Clinically, a mucopurulent discharge or scleral abscess may be sufficient signs to signal infection in the absence of a tissue culture and sensitivity test. HZV, as the most common infectious cause, responds well to oral acyclovir or famciclovir and should resolve the symptoms within several weeks or less. Unlike with episcleritis, NSAIDs may be a first-line treatment for diffuse or nodular, idiopathic and non-necrotizing anterior scleritis.

While some research suggests steroids provide no benefits, a study of a series of non-necrotizing anterior scleritis cases showed topical steroids resolved nearly half of the cases, but often they require additional treatment. Oral corticosteroids are the next therapeutic step for refractory cases, those with necrotizing signs or posterior scleritis. Most practitioners use the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time, as long-term steroid treatment should be avoided due to the deleterious side effects.

Other routes of steroid introduction include intravenous IV and periocular injection. Necrotizing scleritis, for example, may warrant IV methylprednisolone. Those with an associated systemic condition or the necrotizing type typically need immunosuppressive therapy or biological agents. Recurrence is not uncommon. For example, research shows younger patients tend to have recurrence sooner and more frequently.

Immunosuppressive drugs increase the risk for a secondary infection. What starts out as an idiopathic condition could turn infectious, which should be considered in patients who respond well initially but then worsen. Malignancy may mimic treatment-resistant scleritis. Clinicians should regularly monitor liver and kidney function, as well as blood pressure in hypertensives. Once discovering systemic disease, clinicians should consult the proper specialist for management. Some state RA is the most common systemic condition associated with scleritis, while others found RA with vasculitis—particularly granulomatosis with polyangiitis GPA —was the number one cause.

A thorough case history, a review of patient symptomatology, comparative clinical findings and further diagnostic tools are keys to helping clinicians successfully differentiate between episcleritis and scleritis. The right diagnosis and prompt treatment leads to improved outcomes, as does adhering to a multidisciplinary approach when applicable. Williamson is the residency supervisor at the Memphis VA Medical Center and is adjunct faculty at multiple optometry schools.

Bowling B. Philadelphia: Saunders; Treatment and management of scleral disorders. Surv Ophthalmol. Sims J. Scleritis: presentations, disease associations and management. Postgrad Med J. Yanoff M, Duker JS. Boston: Mosby; Optical coherence tomography in the diagnosis of scleritis and episcleritis. Am J Ophthalmol. Clinical Anatomy of the Eye. Cambridge: Blackwell Scientific Publications; Imaging of the sclera in patients with scleritis and episcleritis using anterior segment optical coherence tomography. Ocul Immunol Inflamm.

Severity of episcleritis and systemic disease association.

Scleritis: A Case Report and Overview

Scleritis and episcleritis. Br J Ophthalmol. Principles and Practice of Ophthalmology.

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Rajoo SG, Gandhewar J. Recurrent episcleritis in relation to menstruation: a case report. Episcleritis and scleritis. A study of their clinical manifestations and association with rheumatoid arthritis. Ocular Disease: Mechanisms and Management.

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October 10, January 31 - February 2, Toggle navigation. Find a Job Post a Job. A thorough review of systems is crucial in the evaluation of these patients, with a particular focus on systemic signs of rheumatoid arthritis such as joint pain, sinus issues or epistaxis that may be associated with GPA, breathing trouble that may lead one towards a diagnosis of sarcoidosis, and skin disorders that may lead towards a diagnosis of psoriasis or lupus. Clinical Presentation The hallmark presenting symptom of posterior scleritis is moderate to severe pain. Patients will often describe a deep, dull, boring pain that, classically, wakes them from sleep.

There may be associated pain with extraocular motility, proptosis or other orbital signs. The degree of effect on vision can be variable, from minimally affected to significant vision loss.

Intraocular pressure may be elevated in up to half of patients with scleritis, which may be due to rotation of the ciliary body and iris root into the angle causing angle closure without pupillary block, blockage of the outflow track due to inflammation, elevated episcleral venous pressure, peripheral anterior synechiae or neovascularization. Deep redness and tenderness to palpation due to anterior scleritis also may or may not be present in cases of posterior scleritis. Patients with strictly posterior scleritis may not have ocular redness but will describe discomfort with motility and may show restriction of eye movement.

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