Condition 101 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.

What are the alternative names for Scleritis?

Inflammation - sclera

What are the causes for 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 for 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.

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.

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 for 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.



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.

Latest Advances On Scleritis

  • Condition: Mycobacterium Haemophilum Scleritis
  • Journal: BMC ophthalmology
  • Treatment Used: Surgical Debridement, Topical Antibiotics, Oral Acyclovir, Low-Dose Topical Steroids, and Systemic Steroids
  • Number of Patients: 2
  • Published —
This study reported cases of Mycobacterium haemophilum scleritis treated with surgical debridement, topical antibiotics, oral acyclovir, low-dose topical steroids, and systemic steroids.
  • Condition: Posterior Scleritis
  • Journal: BMC ophthalmology
  • Treatment Used: Corticosteroids
  • Number of Patients: 1
  • Published —
In this study, researchers sought to determine the best treatment for posterior scleritis in a patient with HIV.

Clinical Trials For Scleritis

Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Phase: Phase 3
  • Intervention Type: Drug
  • Participants: 50
  • Start Date: June 11, 2020
A Multicenter Randomized Open-label Trial Comparing the Efficacy and Safety of Infliximab Versus Cyclophosphamide in Subjects With Idiopathic Refractory Scleritis
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Active, not recruiting
  • Phase: Phase 2
  • Intervention Type: Drug
  • Participants: 5
  • Start Date: April 4, 2019
Tofacitinib for the Treatment of Inflammatory Eye Disease