Scleritis is a condition where the sclera is significantly reddened and inflamed. The condition can be quite painful. It is believed to be an overreaction of the immune system.
The sclera is a protective exterior layer of the eye which is also the white part of the eye. The type of scleritis an individual has is based on the site of inflammation. Most experience intense pain but not in all cases.
Overall, prompt treatment with drugs is vital to prevent the condition from progression. If left untreated, it can cause partial or full loss of vision.
What are the types?
- Anterior – most prevalent form
- Nodular anterior – second most common
- Necrotizing anterior with inflammation – this is the most serious form of anterior scleritis
- Necrotizing anterior without inflammation – rare form
- Posterior – hard to diagnose since it has variable signs that
What are the signs?
In every type of scleritis, there are similar signs and can worsen if not treated. Above all, intense eye pain that does not respond to pain medications is the distinctive sign of the condition.
Eye movement can aggravate the discomfort. The pain can spread all over the face especially on the side of the affected eye.
Other signs that might be present include:
- Diminished vision
- Excessive tearing
- Blurred vision
- Light sensitivity
- Redness of the sclera
The signs of the posterior form are not evident since it does not trigger severe pain as the other types. The usual signs include:
- Eye irritation
- Deep-seated headache
- Double vision
- Pain during eye movement
Management of scleritis
The treatment for scleritis is aimed on dealing with the inflammation before it can cause lasting damage. The pain from scleritis is also linked to inflammation, thus reducing the swelling can lessen the symptoms.
Generally, the doctor uses a stepladder scheme to manage the condition. In case the initial step involving medications fails, the second is used.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – works by reducing the inflammation as well as ease the pain
- Corticosteroid pills – use corticosteroids if NSAIDs are not effective in reducing the inflammation
- Oral glucocorticoids – given for the posterior form
- Immunosuppressive drugs with oral variants of glucocorticoids – given for the necrotizing form
- Antibiotics – used to prevent or treat any infections in the sclera
- Antifungal drugs – for infections brought about by Sjogren’s syndrome
Consequently, in severe cases, the doctor performs surgery. The process involves the repair of the scleral tissues since it improves muscular function and avoid vision loss.