Scleritis is a condition where the sclera is significantly reddened and inflamed. The sclera is the protective exterior layer of the eye which is also a component of the white part of the eye. It is also linked to the muscles responsible for eye movement.
The condition can be quite painful and believed to occur due to the overreaction of the immune system. Generally, most experience intense pain but there are some exceptions. Prompt treatment with drugs is vital to prevent the condition from progressing. In serious, untreated cases, it can lead to partial or full loss of vision.
Types of scleritis
The types of scleritis is based on whether it affects the anterior or posterior region of the sclera. It is important to note that most of the anterior forms are likely to have an underlying ailment as part of their cause.
What are the signs?
For each form of scleritis, it has the same symptoms and can worsen if not properly treated. The intense eye pain that poorly responds to pain medications is the main sign of scleritis.
Eye movements can worsen the discomfort. The pain might even spread all over the face, especially on the side of the effected eye.
Other symptoms that might be present include:
- Blurred vision
- Excessive tearing
- Light sensitivity
- Diminished vision
- Redness of the sclera
The indications of posterior scleritis could not be detected since it will not trigger severe pain. The usual signs include:
- Double vision
- Deep-seated headache
- Eye irritation
- Discomfort brought about by movement of the eye
The treatment for scleritis is aimed on dealing with the inflammation before it can cause significant damage. The discomfort caused by the condition is also linked to inflammation, thus minimizing the swelling can help lessen the symptoms.
The treatment generally follows a stepladder approach. In case the first step with drugs fail to work, the second option is utilized.
The medications utilize to manage the condition include:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce the inflammation.
- Corticosteroids are used if NSAIDs could not lessen the inflammation
- Glucocorticoids that are taken orally is the ideal choice for the posterior form of scleritis.
- Immunosuppressive drugs along with oral glucocorticoids are preferred for necrotizing scleritis which is a dangerous form.
- Antibiotics are given to prevent or treat infections
- Anti-fungal drugs are typically used for infections brought about by Sjogren’s syndrome
In some cases, surgical intervention might be required for severe cases of scleritis. The procedure involves repair of the scleral tissues to enhance muscular function and avert the loss of vision.