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.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.