What is Episcleritis?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2019
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Episcleritis is a usually benign infection of the upper layer of the sclera or white of the eye. This ophthalmological condition usually looks much worse that it really is, because the white of the eye turns bright red and it can be quite alarming to patients who are not familiar with this infection. In many patients, episcleritis resolves on its own, while in other instances, it may require the attention of an ophthalmologist. There are several techniques which can be used to manage episcleritis.

Patients may feel itchy or sore if they have episcleritis, or they may not take note of the condition until they see the affected eye in a mirror or have the redness brought to their attention by an observer. The mild inflammation can clear up independently within two weeks, but prescribing steroids can sometimes bring the inflammation down more quickly, increasing the patient's comfort. Reducing the inflammation quickly will also minimize the number of well-meaning comments about the redness in the eye.

This condition appears commonly in young women, although people of all ages and genders can develop episcleritis. It should not be confused with scleritis, a much more serious condition which is often associated with underlying pathology. Episcleritis is also commonly recurring, and an ophthalmologist may have recommendations to reduce recurrence, depending on the patient's situation.


In nodular episcleritis, the condition is associated with another disease, and it may recur frequently. This form of the inflammation is characterized by the appearance of small white nodules within the area of inflammation which can be seen during an examination of the eye. Patients with regular or nodular episcleritis may find some comfort from using hot or cold compresses on the eye if they want to manage the condition at home, although they should seek medical attention if the inflammation persists or grows worse.

People should definitely make a habit of making a doctor's appointment if they notice something unusual in or around their eyes, or if they experience eye strain, blurred vision, and other vision problems. Eye problems are easiest to address when they are caught early. It is also important to have regular vision exams in which eye health is assessed by an ophthalmologist who can check for early signs of degenerative disease or vision problems; sometimes the eyes are the first place where symptoms of serious medical issues such as connective tissue diseases and diabetes show up.


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Post 3

Which specific medical treatment does one need to have in order to treat Episcleritis? What is the causal agent of this condition? how does one control/avoid Episcleritis?


Post 2

A few years ago, my husband got this while on a long vacation. It was funny at the time because he'd just gotten over having the other eye look the same way from a stick gotten into it accidentally, then the other one turned red, and it looked like he'd done it all over again!

Post 1

How do you manage episcleritis?

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