Episcleritis is the inflammation of the episclera. The episclera is the thin layer of tissue between the covering of the eye (conjunctiva) and the white of the eye (sclera). This condition can occur without the presence of any infection. Episcleritis can affect one or both the eyes. This condition is commonly seen in women. The condition is seen to occur more frequently between the age group of 40 to 50. The vision is not affected in this condition.
The main cause of episcleritis is unknown but it can occur in association with certain diseases like:
3) Sjogren syndrome
4) Herpes zoster
5) Rheumatoid arthritis
Episcleritis usually occurs in a mild form. There are two forms of episcleritis:
– Simple episcleritis– The inflammation in this type of episcleritis is usually mild. This is the most common type of episcleritis to occur. This form of episcleritis usually last for 7 to 10 days and completely disappears after 2 to 3 weeks. This condition may recur. The cause of this recurrence still remains unknown.
– Nodular episcleritis– In this type of episcleritis, the condition usually remains confined to one part of the eye. This is a more severe and a painful condition. The duration of the nodular episcleritis is usually longer. Raised areas or lumps may be found on the surface of the eye. Generally this condition is associated with some underlying health condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
1) Watering eye
2) Sensitivity to light
3) Sore tender eye with a typical burning sensation
4) A continuous dull ache in the eye
5) A pink or a purple color which is seen in the part of the eye which is generally white.
A basic eye examination is generally performed. No additional special tests are needed. The condition can be diagnosed on the basis of an eye examination.
The basic diagnosis starts by taking a medical history of the affected individual. Also the signs and symptoms of episcleritis are typical and help in diagnosis. The doctor may carry out additional tests if the condition seems to be associated with any other underlying health condition.
No treatment is generally necessary. Corticosteroids eye drops may relieve symptoms faster. Artificial tears such as hypromellose are sometimes given for better relief.
Even without treatment the condition disappears on its own within 1 to 2 weeks.
If the condition lasts for a longer time then the doctor may prescribe drugs such as:
-NSAIDS (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) which will help to relieve pain, irritation, swelling and the inflammation.
-Steroid eye drops help in relieving the symptoms and also help in a speedy recovery.
Very rarely the condition may return or progress to a condition called as scleritis which is the inflammation of the white part of the eye. Iritis may sometimes occur which is the inflammation of the colored part of the eye.
If any underlying condition is detected by the doctor during examinations, it will also require treatment.
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