What is it?

Episcleritis is inflammation of the outer layers of the sclera (tough white layers of the eyeball).

What is the cause?

It usually occurs in flare-ups of inflammatory bowel disease and is more common in Crohn's disease (3-4%).

What are the symptoms?

The commonest presenting symptoms include:

• burning or itching eyes
• watery eyes

Examination of the eyes shows redness of the eye due to an increase of blood vessels (hyperaemia).

What is the treatment?

Topical steroid preparations may help relieve symptoms quickly, but steroid tablets may be more continuously effective.

As the condition usually occurs with disease activity, controlling intestinal disease will relieve symptoms.