Saturday, Jan 1, 2022 by Nisha Gupta, MD

This month we discuss another cause of red eyes called episcleritis.

What is episcleritis and what causes it?

Episcleritis is an inflammation of the thin tissue overlying the sclera, the white part of the eye. This condition usually affects one eye. Most cases are idiopathic. This means doctors do not find the cause of the condition. Some patients may have a condition that is affecting the body that is causing the inflammation in the eye. These include connective tissue diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, blood vessel disorders, skin conditions, and various infections.

What are the symptoms?

Most people will report some redness of the eye. The redness may be in one area of the eye and can be associated with a small bump. This is the nodular form of episcleritis. Many patients do not have any symptoms, but some may have some irritation, light sensitivity, or soreness. The vision is not affected.

What are the treatments?

Generally, no treatment is necessary and episcleritis resolves on its own. Lubricating drops can be used for any discomfort. If one is experiencing pain, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can be given. Some doctors may prescribe low dose steroid eye drops. If one has multiple attacks, lab testing is done to find a cause of the inflammation in the body.

Remember, there are many causes for red eyes. Make sure to see an ophthalmologist for any new symptoms and get treatment if necessary.

Return next month for a discussion on another inflammatory condition called scleritis!

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