What is scleritis?

Updated: Aug 29, 2019
  • Author: Manolette R Roque, MD, MBA, FPAO; Chief Editor: Andrew A Dahl, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Scleritis is a chronic, painful, and potentially blinding inflammatory disease that is characterized by edema and cellular infiltration of the scleral and episcleral tissues (outermost coat of the eye). Scleritis may be isolated to the eye, but is commonly associated with systemic autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, relapsing polychondritis, spondyloarthropathies, Wegener granulomatosis, polyarteritis nodosa, and giant cell arteritis.

Scleritis may be the initial or only presenting clinical manifestation of these potentially lethal disorders. The correct and rapid diagnosis and the appropriate systemic therapy can halt the relentless progression of both ocular and systemic processes, thus preventing destruction of the globe while prolonging survival and improving quality of life.


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