Episcleritis is inflammation that occurs between the sclera and conjunctival tissues in the eye. Sklera is the white part of the eyeball while the conjunctive is the layer that covers it. The inflamation makes the eyes irritated, red and feels a little uncomfortable. However, episcleritis is generally classified as a mild health problem and does not cause serious consequences.
Symptoms of episcleritis usually appear in a fast time that begins with red eyes. This condition can occur in one eye or both. There are 2 types of episcleritis, namely simple and nodular episcleritis.
Simple episcleritis is the most common type, with symptoms of eyes appearing red on one part or sometimes on the entire eye, and causing a little discomfort. Whereas in nodular episcleritis, there is an inflamed lump around the scattered blood vessels. Usually nodular episcleritis occurs in one eye and results in patients feeling more uncomfortable than simple episcleritis patients.
Apart from red eyes, other symptoms of episcleritis are:
- The eyes feel soft and runny
- The eyes are more sensitive to bright light
- Eyes feel hot and sandy
- Sometimes the white part of the eye looks blue or purple
Episcleritis occurs when there is inflammation of the tissue between the sclera and the conjunctiva. Episcleritis starts from small blood vessels and then spreads to the surface of the eye.
So far, there are no known triggers or causes of episcleritis (idiopathic). However, many sufferers of this condition also suffer from other inflammatory diseases, for example lupus , rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn's disease.
To establish a diagnosis of episcleritis, the ophthalmologist will perform a physical examination of the patient, especially the eye examination. The examination begins by looking at the condition of the patient's eye color, which can turn red or purplish blue.
The examination can then be continued using a tool called a slit lamp . Before using a slit lamp, the doctor can give eye drops to the patient to dilate the pupils, so that abnormal conditions in the eye can be seen more clearly.
Episcleritis can recover by itself without the need for medication, especially if the symptoms experienced by the patient are relatively mild. To speed up recovery, there are several ways that patients can do it independently. Among others are:
- Use cold compresses on the eyes when the eyes are closed.
- Using eye drops containing artificial tears.
- Wear glasses when outside to protect the eyes from bright light.
Episcleritis can recover within 7-10 days, although in the case of nodular episcleritis, it takes longer. If the episcleritis has not recovered in this period or even worsens, the doctor needs to investigate more about the possibility of scleritis (inflammation of the sclera tissue) in patients.
Episcleritis can reappear within a few months after recovery. If this condition recurs, the doctor can check for possible inflammatory diseases that accompany episcleritis.
Episcleritis will not cause serious consequences in the long term, unless it is related to other inflammatory diseases.