What Is It?
Scleritis is a potentially serious inflammation of the sclera, commonly called the white of the eye. It is the tough, white tissue that gives the eye its shape and protects the eye. More than 50% of cases of scleritis are associated with another disease that affects the whole body, such as rheumatoid arthritis, or are caused by infection or injury. Scleritis occurs most often in people aged 30 to 60 and is rare in children. If left untreated, the condition can spread to parts of other parts of the eye. Some visual loss could then occur.
The main symptoms of scleritis are pain and redness in the white part of the eye. These symptoms usually develop gradually and eventually become severe. The redness may become an intense purple. Many people with scleritis have pain radiating from the eye to adjacent areas of the head and face. Commonly, the eye becomes teary and very sensitive to light. You may lose some vision.
Your eye doctor will ask you about your medical history and conduct a thorough examination. In addition, because of the association between scleritis and other general medical conditions, your doctor may suggest a comprehensive medical examination, including blood counts and other tests and evaluations. Ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scanning, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or a biopsy may be used to rule out other causes of symptoms.