What is it?
The sclera is the protective outer layer of the eye, which is also the white part of the eye. It’s connected to muscles that help the eye move. About 83 percent of the eye surface is the sclera.
Scleritis is a disorder in which the sclera becomes severely inflamed and red. It can be very painful. Scleritis is believed to be the result of the body’s immune system overreacting. The type of scleritis you have depends on the location of the inflammation. Most people feel severe pain with the condition, but there are exceptions.
Early treatment with medication is necessary to prevent scleritis from progressing. Serious, untreated cases can lead to partial or complete vision loss.
What are the symptoms?
Each type of scleritis has similar symptoms, and they can worsen if the condition isnt treated. Severe eye pain that responds poorly to painkillers is the main symptom of scleritis. Eye movements are likely to make the pain worse. The pain may spread throughout the entire face, particularly on the side of the affected eye.
Other symptoms may include:
- excessive tearing, or lacrimation
- decreased vision
- blurry vision
- sensitivity to light, or photophobia
- redness of the sclera, or white portion of your eye
The symptoms of posterior scleritis are not as evident because it does not cause the severe pain as other types. Symptoms include:
- deep-seated headaches
- pain caused by eye movement
- eye irritation
- double vision
Some people experience little to no pain from scleritis. This may be because they have:
- a milder case
- scleromalacia perforans, which is a rare complication of advanced rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- a history of using immunosuppressive medications (they prevent activity in the immune system) before symptoms began
- Get plenty of rest.
- Exercise. If you have mild to moderate MS, regular exercise can help improve your strength, muscle tone, balance and coordination.
- Swimming or other water exercises are good options if youre bothered by heat. Other types of mild to moderate exercise recommended for people with MS include walking, stretching, low-impact aerobics, stationary cycling, yoga and tai chi.
- Cool down. MS symptoms often worsen when your body temperature rises. Using devices such as cooling scarves or vests can be helpful.
- Eat a balanced diet. Results of small studies suggest that a diet low in saturated fat but high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in olive and fish oils, may be beneficial. But further research is needed. Studies also suggest that vitamin D may have potential benefit for people with MS.
- Relieve stress. Stress may trigger or worsen your signs and symptoms. Yoga, tai chi, massage, meditation or deep breathing may help.
- Avoiding exposure to heat
- Avoid stress
Things to watch out for
GP should be contacted as soon as possible if you have persistent eye pain or an unusual change in your vision.