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Rev Med Interne. 2014 Sep;35(9):577-85. doi: 10.1016/j.revmed.2014.02.004. Epub 2014 Mar 15.

[Scleritis and episcleritis: diagnosis and treatment].

[Article in French]

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Service de médecine interne, centre hospitalier national d'ophtalmologie des Quinze-Vingts, 28, rue de Charenton, 75571 Paris cedex 12, France. Electronic address:
Service d'ophtalmologie, nouvel hôpital civil, hôpitaux universitaires et université de Strasbourg, BP426, 67091 Strasbourg, France.


Episcleritis and scleritis are distinct entities with regard to visual prognosis, risk of associated systemic disease, and treatment. The pertinence of the clinical classification of episcleritis and scleritis established in 1976 still persists, with significant differences in terms of visual prognosis, associated general conditions, and therapeutic choices according to each scleritis subtype. Episcleritis requires rarely to be referred to a tertiary care centre, and if so it has to be monitored similarly to scleritis. In this paper, an analysis of 1358 scleritis cases from the main distinct large series published since 1976 shows a mean proportion of 8% of infectious aetiologies (mainly herpes viruses), and 28% of systemic diseases with two main subgroups: inflammatory rheumatisms 12.8%, and systemic vasculitis 7.8%. Overall, the risk for visual loss following scleritis is around 16%. However, the risks of associated systemic disease and visual loss are both highly variable according to the type of scleritis, and culminate at 80% and 50% in the necrotizing subtype respectively. As compared with older series, the proportion of necrotizing scleritis is lower in recent series which is likely due to the advances obtained over the past 20 years in immunomodulatory therapy, as well as its wide use in the treatment of the main systemic conditions associated with scleritis. The treatment of scleritis should be managed by physicians who are experts in the use of immunosuppressive drugs that may be required in one out of two affected patients.


Episcleritis; Episclérite; Granulomatose avec polyangéite; Granulomatosis with polyangeitis; Herpes virus; Herpès virus; Polyarthrite rhumatoïde; Polychondrite; Polychondritis; Rheumatoid arthritis; Scleritis; Sclérite

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