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Definition of «Scleritis»

Scleritis: Inflammation of the sclera, the tough white outer coat of the eyeball.

Classic scleritis affects the sclera itself and is not a benign disease. It may impair vision. The principal symptom is severe general head pain. Scleritis occurs in association with systemic collagen diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Wegener's granulomatosis and, less often, lupus. The cause is unknown but when it occurs in the setting of one of these autoimmune diseases, the scleritis is generally thought to be due to the immune system attacking the sclera. Treatment is difficult. It may include administration of anti-inflammatory and cortisone-related medications either by mouth, intravenously, or even injected into the eye.

The term scleritis also includes episcleritis, inflammation of the episclera, a thin membrane that covers the sclera. Episcleritis is typically benign, easily treated and usually soon resolved.

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