The sclera is the white of the eye. It is a fibrous covering that makes up much of the globe of the eye. The sclera protects the eye's inner parts.
Scleritis means that the sclera is inflamed. The inflammation is what makes the white of the eye look red, or sometimes purple.
Pain from scleritis is usually severe and is worse at night. The pain can spread to your face and jaw. Scleritis can make your eyes sensitive to light. It can also affect your vision. In more severe cases, it can lead to loss of vision.
Scleritis is often caused by another medical problem, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Sometimes an eye infection is the cause.
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. Your doctor may give you a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). 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:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: March 3, 2017
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
& Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
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