Knowing More About Scleritis
Had lunch a few days ago with my officemate, an "acquaintance" following the three A's to a relationship and found out that she has scleritis which accordingly is an inflammation of the eyes. My officemate said that this disease is genetic and that she has had it since birth but it is only now that she is feeling the effects. I have reservations about the genetic part but since I had no idea what scleritis is I just resolved to look more into the said disease. As soon as I was back at the office, I looked it up for further information and to satisfy my curiosity about this said disease.
Upon further reading, scleritis is an inflammation that is severe, destructive and vision-threatening disease that affects the deep episclera and sclera. The sclera is the protective casing around the eye which consists of collagen and elastic connective tissues. The symptoms of this disease are moderate to marked pain which will worsen to severe, constant, deep, boring or pulsating pain with the movement of the eye.
Scelirites may involve the anterior or the visible segment of the eye and/or the posterior segments and will manifest with redness of the eyes accompanied by severe pain. This said disease is most common to women aged 30 to 50 years old and coexists with other systemic diseases in most cases; usually with connective tissue disorder. About half of the cases of scleritis however have no known cause.
The anterior segment of the eye is the most commonly affected by scleritis and that there are four types of this anterior scleritis which are as follows:
1.) Diffuse anterior scleritis- the most common form of anterior scleritis which is characterized by widespread inflammation of the sclera’s anterior portion. This type of anterior scleritis is also the most benign.
2.) Nodular anterior scleritis- this type is characterized by abnormal redness, immovable, tender and inflamed nodules on the sclera.
3.) Necrotizing anterior scleritis with inflammation- this type is usually accompanied by collagen vascular disorders and the pain felt with this form of anterior scleritis is extreme. Damage to the sclera is also often visible.
4.) Necrotizing anterior scleritis without inflammation- this type commonly occurs to patients with history of rheumatoid arthritis; due to the rheumatoid nodule present in the sclera that makes the noted absence of symptoms.
Treatment for scleritis does not generally require surgery. Immediate treatment for scleritis is the alleviation of the pain and then the introduction of therapy that will positively change the course of the disease. Corticosteroid eye drops help reduce inflammation. NSAIDs or the nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs may also be used as these were found out to be effective in approximately one third of patients with diffuse anterior scleritis and is two thirds effective in patients who suffer from nodular anterior scleritis. However for scleritis that is caused by an underlying disease, treatment for that disease should also be attended to.