April 2010
Volume 51, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2010
Episcleritis: Association With Dry Eye Disease
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • J. R. Turner
    Ophthalmology, University of Alabama - Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
  • G. McGwin
    Ophthalmology, University of Alabama - Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
  • R. W. Read
    Ophthalmology, University of Alabama - Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  J.R. Turner, None; G. McGwin, None; R.W. Read, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support  None.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2010, Vol.51, 6252. doi:https://doi.org/
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      J. R. Turner, G. McGwin, R. W. Read; Episcleritis: Association With Dry Eye Disease. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):6252. doi: https://doi.org/.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Episcleritis is characterized by vascular congestion of the superficial episcleral vascular plexus. Typically acute in onset, episcleritis may be recurrent. While not vision-threatening, episcleritis patients are frequently distressed by redness and ocular irritation. Treatment with topical corticosteroids is common, but this treatment has the potential side effects of increased intraocular pressure and cataract formation. We hypothesized that episcleritis was associated with dry eye syndrome and that if so, treatment directed against the dry eye would be therapeutically beneficial and a safer alternative to corticosteroids.


Retrospective cohort study of patients with episcleritis seen between March 2005 and October 2008 at a tertiary uveitis referral center. The total number of patients seen in the surrounding academic ophthalmology department, diagnosed with dry eye syndrome and not, were obtained from billing records for statistical analysis of the association of dry eye syndrome with episcleritis.


During the study period a total of 64 episcleritis patients were identified; the mean age of patients was 48.9 years, 86% were female. A total of 3,327 dry eye patients were identified, and 0.33% were concurrently diagnosed with episcleritis. Episcleritis patients were 3.3 times (CI 1.73 to 6.34) more likely to have a concurrent diagnosis of dry eye syndrome compared to non-episcleritis patients.


Episcleritis is more common in females and in association with dry eye syndrome. Treatment of dry eye syndrome may be beneficial in episcleritis.  

Keywords: cornea: tears/tear film/dry eye • inflammation • clinical (human) or epidemiologic studies: risk factor assessment 

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