Episcleritis: Care Instructions

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The sclera (say "SKLAIR-uh") is the white of the eye. It protects the eye's inner parts. There are several layers of the sclera. The episclera (say "eh-puh-SKLAIR-uh") is the top layer.

Episcleritis (say "eh-puh-skluh-RY-tus") means that the episclera is inflamed. The inflammation makes all or part of the white of the eye look red. For some people, the eye feels tender, hot, or irritated.

Episcleritis is not a serious eye problem. It doesn't damage your eye or harm your vision. Usually it starts suddenly, and the cause isn't known. Some people already have a health problem that could be related, such as rheumatoid arthritis or an infection.

To see if you have episcleritis, your doctor checks your vision. The doctor looks closely at your eyes and talks to you about your symptoms. You may have tests and X-rays to look for medical problems that might be linked to your eye problem.

Episcleritis usually goes away on its own in a few days, though it can take a few weeks. Your doctor may prescribe eyedrops to help relieve the inflammation.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Be safe with medicines. Use all your medicines exactly as prescribed.
  • If you are using eyedrops or ointment, be sure the dropper or bottle tip is clean. To put in eyedrops or ointment:
    • Tilt your head back, and pull your lower eyelid down with one finger.
    • Drop or squirt the medicine inside the lower lid.
    • Close your eye for 30 to 60 seconds to let the drops or ointment move around.
    • Do not touch the ointment or dropper tip to your eyelashes or any other surface.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You notice a loss of your vision.
  • You have vision changes.
  • You have new or worse eye pain.
  • You have new or worse redness in your eye.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.