PURPOSE: To evaluate the clinical experience with episcleritis and scleritis at a tertiary care eye center. METHODS: Retrospective chart review. RESULTS: One hundred thirty-four patients with scleral inflammation were seen over a 12-year period. Thirty-seven patients had episcleritis, and 97 patients had scleritis. Ocular complications occurred in only 13.5% of patients with episcleritis but in 58.8% of patients with scleritis (P < .0001). No patient with episcleritis had a decrease in visual acuity, whereas 15.9% of patients with scleritis did. Only 16.7% of patients with episcleritis required more than topical corticosteroids for treatment, and these patients required oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Conversely, 30.4% of patients with scleritis required nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory drugs, 31.9% oral prednisone, and 26.1% systemic immunosuppressive drugs (P < .0001). Necrotizing scleritis and posterior scleritis more often were associated with ocular complications, occurring in 91.7% and 85.7%, respectively, than were diffuse anterior scleritis and nodular anterior scleritis (P = .020). Patients with necrotizing scleritis and posterior scleritis were more likely to be treated with oral corticosteroids or immunosuppressive drugs (90% and 100%, respectively) than were patients with diffuse anterior scleritis and nodular anterior scleritis (56.4% and 21.4%, respectively, P = .002). CONCLUSIONS: Scleritis is a severe ocular inflammation, often associated with ocular complications, and nearly always treated with systemic medications. Nearly 60% of these patients will need oral corticosteroids or immunosuppressive drugs to control the disease. (C) 2000 by Elsevier Science Inc.
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