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Episcleritis

  • Definition
    • Episcleritis is irritation and inflammation of the episclera, a thin layer of tissue covering the white part (sclera) of the eye. It is not an infection.

  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Exams and Tests
    • Your health care provider will do an eye exam to diagnose the disorder. Most of the time, no special tests are needed.

  • Treatment
    • The condition most often goes away on its own in 1 to 2 weeks. Using corticosteroid eye drops may help ease the symptoms faster.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)
    • Episcleritis most often improves without treatment. However, treatment may make symptoms go away sooner.

  • Possible 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.

  • When to Contact a Medical Professional
    • Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of episcleritis that last for more than 2 weeks. Get checked again if your pain gets worse or you have problems with your vision.

  • References
    • Goldstein DA, Patel SS, Tessler HH. Episcleritis and scleritis. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier; 2013:chap 4.11.

      Watson P. Diseases of the sclera and episclera. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane's Ophthalmology 2013. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2013:vol 4;chap 23.

      Yanoff M, Cameron D. Diseases of the visual system. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 431.