Episcleritis, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention, Complications

Body Health

Episcleritis is an inflammation of the thin tissue that lies between the sclera and the conjunctiva of the eye, causing the eye to experience redness and discomfort. This inflammation can occur in one eye or both. The sclera is the white part of the eyeball, while the conjunctiva is the layer that covers it. Unlike scleritis which attacks the sclera and can cause serious problems, episcleritis is generally classified as a mild health problem and does not have a serious impact.


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Episcleritis, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention, Complications

Causes of Episcleritis

The causes and triggers of the inflammation that occurs in episcleritis are not known with certainty. However, episcleritis is more common in people with the following conditions:

  • Have a systemic disorder, such as lupus, Crohn's disease, or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Have an eye injury
  • Taking certain medications, such as topiramate or bisphosphonates
  • Female gender
  • Between 40–50 years old
  • Suffer from a disease caused by a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection, such as shingles on the forehead or eyes
  • Have cancer, such as leukemia or Hodgkin's lymphoma

Symptoms of Episcleritis

Based on the symptoms, episcleritis is divided into two types, namely simple and nodular episcleritis. Here is the explanation:

Simple episcleritis

Simple episcleritis is the more common type of episcleritis. This type of episcleritis is characterized by:

  • Part of the white of the eye is reddish
  • Eyes feel uncomfortable and watery
  • The eyes are more sensitive to bright light
  • Eyes feel hot and feel gritty

Nodular episcleritis

Nodular episcleritis is rare. The symptoms that occur in this type of episcleritis are not much different from simple episcleritis. It's just that, nodular episcleritis is accompanied by a small lump that feels a bit painful.

The symptoms of episcleritis above appear quickly, but do not cause visual disturbances. Symptoms can occur in one eye or both. If the symptoms of episcleritis appear in both eyes, more attention is needed.

When to see a doctor

Episcleritis usually doesn't cause serious problems and can recover in a short time. However, if symptoms persist for 2–4 weeks and don't improve, you need to see a doctor.

It is also recommended that you immediately see a doctor if there is severe pain that affects your vision. This can be a sign of a serious eye disorder other than episcleritis.

Diagnosis of Episcleritis

To diagnose episcleritis, initially the doctor will ask and answer questions about the symptoms experienced, medical history, and drugs or supplements that the patient is taking or has ever taken. Next, the ophthalmologist will conduct a thorough eye and physical examination.

An eye examination usually begins by looking directly at the patient's eye color. After that, an examination will usually be carried out using a tool called a slit lamp for a more accurate examination.

The doctor may also do a test by administering eye drops to make sure this condition is not caused by another eye disease.

Episcleritis Treatment

Episcleritis can generally recover by itself without the need for treatment, especially if the patient's symptoms are mild. However, if episcleritis is bothersome, your doctor may prescribe eye drops or pain medication to relieve the discomfort.

To speed up recovery, there are several ways that patients can do independently at home, namely:

  • Compress the eyes with a towel soaked in cold water
  • Use eye drops containing artificial tears
  • Use goggles when outdoors to protect your eyes from bright light

Episcleritis usually resolves within 7–10 days. However, in cases of nodular episcleritis, recovery may take longer. If episcleritis has not recovered within that time period or even gets worse, control returns to the doctor for further examination.

Episcleritis complications

If not treated properly, episcleritis can cause several complications such as the following:

  • Recurrent episcleritis
  • Scleritis, especially if the episcleritis is caused by shingles
  • Other inflammation, such as uveitis

Prevention of Episcleritis

Because the cause is not known with certainty, episcleritis is difficult to prevent. However, you can take the following steps to reduce your risk of developing episcleritis:

  • Check your health regularly if you have a condition that can increase the risk of episcleritis
  • Take steps to prevent infection
  • Do not use any medicines, supplements or herbal products without first consulting a doctor

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