Severity of episcleritis and systemic disease association

Esen Kammursel Akpek, Harvey S. Uy, William Christen, Canan Gurdal, C. Stephen Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Objective: To analyze patient characteristics and correlate between the site and severity of the inflammation and ocular and/or systemic disease association in a cohort of patients with episcleritis. Design: Retrospective case series. Methods: Medical records of 100 patients with episcleritis were reviewed. Data were analyzed using a customized database software. Results: The age range at presentation was 18 to 76 years (mean, 43; median, 44). Sixty-nine percent of the patients were female. Thirty-two (32%) patients had bilateral involvement. The episcleritis was nodular in 23 eyes (16%). Half of the patients had a concurrent eye disease. Associated systemic disease was found in 36 patients (36%). In two patients, episcleritis preceded a systemic vasculitic disease (Wegener granulomatosis and Cogan syndrome). Ocular complications included uveitis (11.4%), corneal involvement (15%), and glaucoma (7.8%). No significant correlation of the site and severity of inflammation to the presence of associated systemic or ocular diseases was found. The mean follow-up was 16.5 months. Twenty-eight patients experienced recurrence of episcleritis during the follow-up. Half of the patients required treatment with oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Conclusions: Episcleritis is usually a benign, self-limited disease, but it should not be trivialized since it may be associated with systemic disease and ocular complications. A careful review of systems should be performed in all patients presenting with episcleritis, and this should be repeated at least annually during the follow-up. A thorough eye examination is obviously essential to detect and treat ocular complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)729-731
Number of pages3
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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