Scleritis Treatment in Des Plaines, IL
Your sclera is the white part of the eye which acts as its protective layer. Connected to the muscles that help your eye move, the sclera accounts for approximately 83% of your eye's surface and plays a critical role in your eye's optimal function. Like other parts of your body, there are certain factors which can put your sclera in danger. A chronic, inflammatory disease which greatly impacts the eye's sclera is scleritis, in which the normal white color of the sclera turns red and becomes irritated. The disorder is believed to be caused by the body's immune system overreacting and attacking cells in the eyes. The location of the inflammation will differ depending on the type of scleritis which ails you.
Types of scleritis include:
Anterior scleritis, the most common form of scleritis, which refers to when the front of the sclera becomes inflamed. Further, the inflammation may differ in presentation:
- Diffuse: This type of scleritis is characterized by widespread redness and inflammation throughout the entire or a portion of the front part of the sclera. It is also the most common and treatable form of scleritis.
- Nodular: A distinct nodule of scleral edema is present, which may be single or multiple in appearance and are often tender to the touch.
- Necrotizing: The most severe form of scleritis, necrotizing anterior scleritis is characterized by severe pain and extreme sclera tenderness. It has the potential to destroy scleral tissue and, in rare cases, may lead to loss of the eye(s).
Posterior scleritis, which refers to when the back part of the sclera becomes inflamed, is a more rare form of scleritis which can develop on its own or in conjunction with anterior scleritis.
It's important to seek treatment for scleritis in order to address the underlying inflammation that's causing your sclera's inflammation. To schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider in Des Plaines that specializes in scleritis treatment, call (847) 824-3127 or contact The Midwest Center for Sight online.
T cells, which are part of the immune system's defense against invading pathogens involved in disease and illness, are believed to be involved in scleritis. In scleritis, your body's T cells are believed to mistakenly attack sclera cells. Additionally, the following conditions may heighten your chance of developing scleritis:
- Wegener's disease (Wegener's granulomatosis), an uncommon disorder involving inflammation of the blood vessels
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Sjögren's syndrome, an immune disorder causing dry eyes and dry mouth
- Lupus, an immune disorder causing skin inflammation
- Eye infections which may or may not be related to autoimmune disease
- Damage to the eye tissue from an accident
Severe eye pain which does not respond to painkillers is the primary indicator that you may have scleritis. Movements of the eye will likely worsen your eye pain. The pain may also spread throughout the face, affecting the side of the face corresponding with the affected eye most severely. Other scleritis symptoms may include:
- Excessive tearing
- Decreased, oftentimes blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Redness of the sclera
Posterior scleritis may be harder to identify, but may be implied by symptoms including:
- Deep-seated headaches
- Pain associated with eye movement
- Eye irritation
- Double vision
Scleritis Diagnosis & Treatment
Your healthcare provider will begin with a detailed medical history, including discussion of your current symptoms and health state, and will perform a physical examination and laboratory evaluations to diagnose scleritis. A common part of diagnosing scleritis is distinguishing scleritis vs episcleritis. Episcleritis, an inflammation of the superficial veins in the outermost layer of the eye (episclera) is often mistaken for scleritis. Other conditions that present similarly to slceritis include blepharitis (inflammation of the outer eye lid) and viral or bacterial conjunctivitis (inflammation of the eye's conjunctiva). The following tests may be used to make a scleritis diagnosis:
- An ultrasound to inspect for changes occurring in or around the sclera
- Complete blood count to inspect for signs of infection and immune system activity
- A biopsy of your sclera, involving the removal of a portion of sclera tissue, which is then examined under a microscope
Scleritis treatment aims to fight inflammation before it can cause permanent sclera damage. Medications will likely be prescribed to reduce the swelling experienced in the sclera, which should reduce your pain and decrease your symptoms. These could include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat nodular scleritis, reducing inflammation and helping ease scleritis pain
- Corticosteroid pills (such as prednisone), when NSAIDs prove unsuccessful, may be prescribed to reduce inflammation
- Oral glucocorticoids, which are used to suppress various inflammatory conditions, may be prescribed for posterior scleritis
- Immunosuppressive drugs with oral glucocorticoids are often prescribed to attack the most dangerous form of scleritis, necrotizing scleritis
- Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent or treat infections of the sclera
- Antifungal medications may be prescribed to fight infection caused by Sjögren's syndrome
In severe cases of scleritis, surgery to repair tissue in the scleritis may be necessary to improve muscle function and prevent vision loss. Scleritis treatment duration and type will differ drastically depending on the underlying cause of your scleritis, such as if you have an autoimmune disorder.
Scleritis, if not promptly treated, can quickly cause significant eye damage, leading to partial or complete vision loss. It is thus important to seek prompt treatment as soon as you experience any of the aforementioned scleritis symptoms. Seek treatment for scleritis with a qualified healthcare provider in Des Plaines. Call (847) 824-3127 or contact The Midwest Center for Sight online.
The Midwest Center for Sight
Address8901 West Golf Road
Des Plaines, IL 60016
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm