Episcleritis is a common condition affecting the episclera, the layer of tissue between the surface membrane (conjunctiva) and the firm white part of the eye (the sclera). In episcleritis, the episclera becomes inflamed and red. It often causes irritation, soreness or a gritty sensation. Episcleritis can be recurrent.

Causes of episcleritis

The cause of episcleritis is mostly unknown. Very rarely, it may be due to an underlying inflammation in yourbody related to other health conditions; this can be investigated by blood tests if the episcleritis is severe and recurrent.

What is the treatment for episcleritis?

In most cases, episcleritis recovers on its own in a few weeks and may not need any treatment, but the symptoms can be relieved by using artificial tear drops. If it persists and causes significant discomfort, you may need a short course of steroid drops or some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory tablets to help it clear.

When to seek advice

If your eyesight becomes blurred or the pain is severe, you should call Moorfields Direct for advice or go to your local A&E department for a further examination.


Authors: Miss Melanie Hingorani, Dr Swan Kang

Review date: June 2026