Episcleritis is inflammation of the tissue lying between the sclera and the conjunctiva.
Episcleritis occurs in young adults and affects women more often than men. Usually, the inflammation affects only a small patch of the eyeball and causes a red, and sometimes slightly yellow, raised area. Symptoms include eye tenderness and irritation, with slightly increased watering of the eye and mildly increased sensitivity to bright light. The condition is not usually a sign of any other disease and tends to disappear and may recur. The diagnosis is based on the symptoms and on the appearance of the eye.
Treatment is often unnecessary. Eye drops that constrict blood vessels in the eye, such as tetrahydrozoline, can improve the appearance of the eyes but are not necessary. To shorten an attack, corticosteroid eye drops or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug taken by mouth can be used.
Last full review/revision November 2012 by Melvin I. Roat, MD, FACS