Episcleritis is irritation and inflammation of the episclera, a thin layer of tissue covering the white part (sclera) of the eye. It occurs without an infection.
Episcleritis is a common condition that is usually mild.
The cause is usually unknown, but it may occur with certain diseases, such as:
An eye examination can usually diagnose the disorder. No special tests are usually necessary.
The condition usually disappears without treatment in 1 - 2 weeks. Treatment with corticosteroid eye drops may relieve the symptoms faster.
Episcleritis usually improves without treatment. However, treatment may make symptoms go away sooner.
In some cases, the condition may return. Rarely, irritation and inflammation of the white part of the eye may develop. This is called scleritis.
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of episcleritis that last for more than 2 weeks. Get checked again if your pain worsens or you lose vision.
Yanoff M, Cameron D. Diseases of the visual system. In:Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 431.
Goldstein DA, Tessler HH. Episcleritis and scleritis. In:Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 3rd ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2008:chap 4.11.
Watson P. Diseases of the sclera and episclera. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane's Ophthalmology. 2011 ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011:4;chap 23.
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 1997-2013, A.D.A.M., Inc. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized in writing by ADAM Health Solutions.