Definition of Episcleritis

Episcleritis – inflammation of the episclera, the membrane that covers the sclera (fibrous outer layer, the “white,” of the eye). Most episcleritis is idiopathic (occurs for unknown reasons), though the condition sometimes accompanies autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and reiter’s syndrome.

Episodes are self-limiting though may recur over time, with each episode of inflammation generally lasting 7 to 10 days.

Symptoms may include mild irritation and redness, and occasionally a nodule (bump) on the surface of the sclera. The doctor can diagnose episcleritis by its appearance. Lubricating eye drops help relieve the irritation until the inflammation subsides.

This is usually the only treatment necessary. Some studies suggest a correlation between episcleritis and hormonal shifts such as occur with the menstrual cycle or menopause. Episcleritis is three times more common in women than men, does not affect vision or result in any long-term effects on the health of the eye.


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