Scleritis or Episcleritis Which Red is it?

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with Dr. Raphael Rosenbaum

Scleritis or Episcleritis Which Red Eye is it?


Patients often come to my office complaining of having episodic red
blood shot eyes.  They usually have already seen other eye care
specialists who have diagnosed them with Episcleritis or Scleritis.

Which one is it?

By definition Episcleritis is inflammation limited to the superficial
covering of the white part of the eye while Scleritis is inflammation
of the deeper white part of the eye.  Physicians often use ophthalmic
vasoconstricting drops to see if the inflammation disappears if this
occurs it is usually diagnosed as episcleritis.  However careful
questioning often makes such testing redundant true episcleritis will
rarely present with painful episodes while scleritis is almost
universally accompanied by painful episodes.

Does it really make a difference?

It sure does Episcleritis is typically viewed as a benign problem
while Scleritis may be a harbinger of a more severe systemic disease.

Is the treatment the same?

Not at all, typically Episcleritis can be treated with topical
ophthalmic drops while Scleritis usually needs some form of oral


If you or a family member suffers from a chronic or recurrent red eyes please make an appointment to see  Raphael E. Rosenbaum, M.D.  at Eye Surgeons of NYC.

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