What is the pathophysiology of 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

An autoimmune dysregulation in a genetically predisposed host is presumed to cause scleritis. Inciting factors may include infectious organisms, endogenous substances, or trauma. The inflammatory process may be caused by immune complex–related vascular damage (type III hypersensitivity) and subsequent chronic granulomatous response (type IV hypersensitivity).

Both immune complex vessel deposition in episcleral- and scleral-perforating capillary and postcapillary venules (inflammatory microangiopathy) and cell-mediated immune responses interact as part of the activated immune network, which can lead to scleral inflammation and destruction. The autoimmune nature of scleritis also is supported by the frequent association with systemic autoimmune disorders and by the favorable response to immunosuppressive therapy. [2]


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