This material will help you understand scleritis, its causes, symptoms, and how it is treated.

What is scleritis?

Scleritis is inflammation of the sclera. Most often, there is an infection. The sclera is the white tissue that forms the outside wall of the eye. There are two main types of scleritis:

  • Anterior scleritis: affects the front part of the eye. This is the more common type.
  • Posterior scleritis: affects the back part of the eye.

What causes scleritis?

Scleritis is usually associated with autoimmune diseases. Your immune system normally protects your body from infection and keeps you from getting sick. Autoimmune diseases cause this system to attack healthy parts of your body by mistake. Common examples of autoimmune conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and inflammatory bowel syndrome. The cause of scleritis when these other diseases are not present is unknown.

What are the symptoms of scleritis?

Symptoms of scleritis may include:

  • Redness and swelling of the white part of the eye
  • Severe eye pain or aching, which can extend to other parts of your face and jaw
  • Blurred vision
  • Watery eyes
  • Sensitivity to light

Having one or more of these symptoms does not mean that you have scleritis. However, if you do experience any, you should see your eye doctor right away for a complete eye exam.

How is scleritis treated?

Scleritis is often treated using steroids or other anti-inflammatory pills and/or eye drops prescribed by your eye doctor. These medications work to reduce pain and swelling in the eye. If your case is caused by another disease within the body, treatment of that condition may be helpful in controlling your scleritis. Even with treatment, it is possible that scleritis may return. It is important that you see your eye doctor and other specialists regularly to help treat and manage your scleritis.

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