Reference Index - Disease & Conditions

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External and internal eye anatomy
External and internal eye anatomy


Episcleritis

Definition:

Episcleritis is irritation and inflammation of the episclera, a thin layer of tissue covering the white part (sclera) of the eye. It occurs without an infection.



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Episcleritis is a common condition that is usually mild.

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



Symptoms:

Signs 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.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Episcleritis usually improves without treatment. However, treatment may make symptoms go away sooner.



Complications:

In some cases, the condition may return. Rarely, irritation and inflammation of the white part of the eye may develop. This is called scleritis.



Calling your health care provider:

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.



Prevention:



References:

Goldstein DA, Tessler HH. Episcleritis and scleritis. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 3rd ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2008:chap 4.11.

Rosenbaum JT. The Eye and rheumatic diseases. In: Firestein GS, Budd RC, Harris ED Jr, et al, eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 46.




Review Date: 8/3/2010
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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