General Information

Episcleritis is an inflammation of the episclera. The sclera is the white outer fibrous covering of the eyeball. The thin outer layer of tissue overlying the sclera is called the episclera. Both the sclera and episclera lie underneath the conjunctiva, the mobile pink outer membrane. The combined conjunctiva, episclera, and sclera make up the “white of the eye” surrounding the clear cornea.

Episcleritis usually appears as an immovable pink lump or nodule on the white part of the eye. It may also be more generalized and appear as redness and apparent swelling of the eyeball. With severe reactions, small blood vessels may grow into the cornea and cause it to become cloudy. The cause of episcleritis is believed to be an autoimmune type reaction. Treatment involves the use of anti-inflammatory and immune- modulating drugs. Without treatment, episcleritis may result in severe and prolonged inflammation, which can affect the structures inside the eye. Lesions affecting the cornea may result in permanent scarring or mineral deposits.

Important Points in Treatment

1. A thorough eye examination is essential before treatment. A biopsy (tissue sample) of the tissue may be required to ensure that cancerous tissue is not present, as episcleritis may clinically resemble a tumor.
2. Episcleritis generally responds to treatment, but long-term therapy may be required. Relapses may occur if treatment is discontinued and therapy may need to be re-instituted.
3. In cases that are non-responsive to medical treatment, cryotherapy (freezing) of the episclera and sclera may be recommended.

Please notify the doctor if any of the following occur:
a. No improvement is noted or the condition worsens.
b. The eye appears painful or the medication appears to be irritating your pet.

If you have any further questions or concerns regarding episcleritis or any other ocular condition, please do not hesitate to call us at Eye Care for Animals.

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