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A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): A.D.A.M.; 2013.

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.

Episcleritis

Last reviewed: July 7, 2012.

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.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Episcleritis is a common condition that is usually mild.

The cause is usually unknown, but it may occur with certain diseases, such as:

Symptoms

Signs and tests

An eye examination can usually diagnose the disorder. No special tests are usually necessary.

Treatment

The condition usually disappears without treatment in 1 - 2 weeks. Treatment with corticosteroid eye drops may relieve the symptoms faster.

Expectations (prognosis)

Episcleritis usually improves without treatment. However, treatment may make symptoms go away sooner.

Complications

In some cases, the condition may return. Rarely, irritation and inflammation of the white part of the eye may develop. This is called scleritis.

Calling your health care provider

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.

References

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Review Date: 7/7/2012.

Reviewed 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.

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The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional 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 endorsementscof those other sites. © 1997–2011 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Copyright © 2013, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional 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 endorsementscof those other sites. © 1997–2011 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Copyright © 2013, A.D.A.M., Inc.

Figures

  • External and internal eye anatomy.

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