Which scleral findings are characteristic 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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The sclera may appear diffuse, deep bluish red, or violaceous. After several attacks of scleral inflammation, areas of scleral thinning and translucency may appear, allowing the darkness of the uvea to be appreciated through the thin sclera.

A black, gray, or brown area that is surrounded by active scleral inflammation indicates a necrotizing process. If tissue necrosis progresses, the scleral area may become avascular, producing a central white sequestrum surrounded by a well-defined black or dark brown circle. The slough may be replaced gradually by granulation tissue, leaving the underlying uvea bare or covered by a thin layer of Tenon and conjunctiva.

Slit lamp light

In scleritis, maximum congestion is in the deep episcleral network with some congestion in the superficial episcleral network. The posterior and anterior edges of the slit lamp beam are displaced forward because of underlying scleral and episcleral edema.

In scleritis, topical application of 2.5% or 10% phenylephrine only blanches the superficial episcleral network without significant effect on the deep episcleral network.

Red-free light

Red-free light is helpful to the following study areas:

  • Areas that have maximum vascular congestion

  • Areas that display new vascular channels

  • Areas that are totally avascular

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