Scleritis

  • Medical Author:
    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS

    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What are risk factors for scleritis?

The peak incidence of scleritis is in people aged 40-50 years old. Women are more commonly affected than men. The presence of known autoimmune or connective tissue disease markedly increases the risk of scleritis.

What are symptoms of scleritis?

Symptoms of scleritis include pain, redness, tearing, light sensitivity (photophobia), tenderness of the eye, and decreased visual acuity.

Pain is nearly always present and typically is severe and accompanied by tenderness of the eye to touch. The pain may be boring, lancinating, and often awakens the patient from sleep. The extreme pain of scleritis helps to differentiate it from other common causes of redness of the eyes, such as conjunctivitis or episcleritis.

There is usually no discharge from the eye in scleritis.

The discoloration that is caused by the inflammation can have a bluish hue and can involve the entire white of the eye or be localized to only one area.

Decreased visual acuity may be caused by extension of scleritis to the adjacent structures, leading to inflammation of the cornea (keratitis) or the colored portion of the front of the eye (uveitis), glaucoma, cataract, and abnormalities of the retina.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/23/2016

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