Scleritis is a serious eye disease that refers to the inflammation of the sclera, the white outer portion of the eye. Sclera is made up of connective tissues and thus helps in protecting the eye. Sclera is also responsible for giving spherical shape to our eyes. When sclera develops inflammation it is termed as scleritis.
Normally scleritis occurs between the age of 30 and 60 and also scleritis affects women more than men. Scleritis is potentially damaging and may even cause permanent vision loss in severe cases. Most often scleritis is associated with other underlying auto immune diseases present in the body such as rheumatoid arthritis, Gout, Wegener granulomatosis to name a few. But in few cases the disease may occur without any underlying condition and in such instances, the cause remains unknown. Scleritis can occur in the front portion of the eye ball or the back part of the eye ball and they are known as anterior scleritis and posterior scleritis respectively. Anterior scleritis is further classified into Nodular scleritis, Diffuse scleritis, Necrotizing scleritis with inflammation and Necrotizing scleritis without inflammation.In Nodular scleritis, tiny tender nodules form on the white portion of the eye. Diffuse scleritis refers to the inflammation of the front half of the sclera. This is the most common type of scleritis compared to other variations. Necrotizing scleritis is a serious form of scleritis and may even lead to vision loss. It is accompanied by severe pain and usually associated with the problem in other organs of the body. The sclera of the eye thins down severely and may occasionally result in perforation of the eye globe. This condition may surface with or without inflammation. Posterior scleritis is the rarest form of scleritis and usually presents itself with the symptoms like double vision, severe pain, retinal detachment, proptosis and restricted eye movement.
Diagnosis of Scleritis
Clinical examination of the eye is the first step towards assessing the scleritis disease. Further some eye tests and blood tests may be conducted to assess the severity and to diagnose the underlying disease that is causing the inflammation. Diagnostic procedures like ultrasonography and MRI may be advised if posterior scleritis is suspected.
Treatment of Scleritis
Firstly, oral anti inflammatory drugs are prescribed to control the inflammation and relieve the patient of the pain. In case of scleritis, topical eye drops alone are not sufficient to cure the inflammation. The main objective of the treatment would be to diagnose and treat the underlying disease that is causing the condition. In chronic cases, graft surgery may be performed to treat the injured portion of the eye.
Scleritis is treatable, but there are chances of this condition recurring again. The success rate of the treatment also depends upon the severity and the type of the scleritis. Necrotizing scleritis has low success rate and the incidence of vision loss is higher with this condition where as diffuse and nodular scleritis are easily treatable.
Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: October 19, 2017