Learn About Scleritis

What is the definition of Scleritis?

The sclera is the white outer wall of the eye. Scleritis is present when this area becomes swollen or inflamed.

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What are the alternative names for Scleritis?

Inflammation - sclera

What are the causes of Scleritis?

Scleritis is often linked to autoimmune diseases. These diseases occur when the body's immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissue by mistake. Rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus are examples of autoimmune diseases. Sometimes the cause is unknown.

Scleritis occurs most often in people between the ages of 30 and 60. It is rare in children.

What are the symptoms of Scleritis?

Symptoms of scleritis include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain and tenderness -- severe
  • Red patches on the normally white part of the eye
  • Sensitivity to light -- very painful
  • Tearing of the eye

A rare form of this disease causes no eye pain or redness.

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What are the current treatments for Scleritis?

Treatments for scleritis may include:

  • Corticosteroid eye drops to help reduce the inflammation
  • Corticosteroid pills
  • Newer, nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in some cases
  • Certain anticancer drugs (immune-suppressants) for severe cases

If scleritis is caused by an underlying disease, treatment of that disease may be needed.

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Scleritis?

In most cases, the condition goes away with treatment. But it may come back.

The disorder causing scleritis may be serious. However, it may not be discovered the first time you have the problem. The outcome will depend on the specific disorder.

What are the possible complications of Scleritis?

Complications may include:

  • Return of scleritis
  • Side effects of long-term corticosteroid therapy
  • Perforation of the eyeball, leading to vision loss if the condition is left untreated
When should I contact a medical professional for Scleritis?

Call your provider or ophthalmologist if you have symptoms of scleritis.

How do I prevent Scleritis?

Most cases cannot be prevented.

People with autoimmune diseases, may need to have regular check-ups with an ophthalmologist familiar with the condition.

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What are the latest Scleritis Clinical Trials?
Tofacitinib for the Treatment of Inflammatory Eye Disease
Summary: Non-infectious inflammatory eye disease, such as uveitis and scleritis, is a chronic, auto-immune process that leads to vision loss. While steroids are effective in the short term, the side-effect profile of chronic steroid use necessitates the identification of effective steroid-sparing therapies. Tofacitinib is a small molecule that inhibits the signaling pathways of multiple inflammatory cytoki...
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An Open Label, Multi-centered, Randomized Phase 2 Study to Evaluate the Safety, Tolerability and Bioactivity of Subcutaneous ACTH GeL in PAtients With Scleritis: The ATLAS Study
Summary: ATLAS study is a clinical trial to evaluate the potential role of subcutaneous adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) gel in the management of non-infectious scleritis.~Specifically, the ATLAS Study aims to evaluate the safety, tolerability and effect of 2 different dose regimens of ACTH gel administered by subcutaneous (SC) injection in patients with scleritis, over a period of 12 months.~Scleritis i...
What are the Latest Advances for Scleritis?
Recurrent Scleritis and Immunoglobulin A Nephropathy - A Case Series and Literature Review of an Unusual Association.
Summary: Recurrent Scleritis and Immunoglobulin A Nephropathy - A Case Series and Literature Review of an Unusual Association.
Surgically-induced necrotising scleritis complicated by Nocardia infection following routine cataract surgery.
Summary: Surgically-induced necrotising scleritis complicated by Nocardia infection following routine cataract surgery.
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Atypical posterior scleritis mimicking an amelanotic choroidal melanoma. A case report.
Summary: Atypical posterior scleritis mimicking an amelanotic choroidal melanoma. A case report.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: August 18, 2020
Published By: Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Cioffi GA, Liebmann JM. Diseases of the visual system. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 395.

Denniston AK, Rhodes B, Gayed M, Carruthers D, Gordon C, Murray PI. Rheumatic disease. In: Schachat AP, Sadda SVR, Hinton DR, Wilkinson CP, Wiedemann P, eds. Ryan's Retina. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 83.

Freund KB, Sarraf D, Mieler WF, Yannuzzzi LA. Inflammation. In: Freund KB, Sarraf D, Mieler WF, Yannuzzi LA, eds. The Retinal Atlas. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 4.

Patel SS, Goldstein DA. Episcleritis and scleritis. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 4.11.

Salmon JF. Episclera and sclera. In: Salmon JF, ed. Kanski's Clinical Ophthalmology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 9.