Background/aims To determine the morphological features of anterior scleral inflammation using swept-source optical coherence tomography.
Methods In this retrospective observational study, we examined 17 eyes of 14 patients with diffuse anterior scleral inflammation and 13 eyes of 13 young unaffected patients. We compared cross-sectional images of the conjunctiva, episclera and sclera obtained using swept-source optical coherence tomography equipped with a multiple B-scan averaging process between normal eyes and those with episcleritis and scleritis.
Results Optical coherence tomography showed that the conjunctival stroma/episclera layer was notably swollen in diseased eyes. The eyes with diffuse anterior scleral inflammation had a significantly thicker conjunctival stroma/episclera than normal eyes (403.0 μm vs 288.0 μm, p=0.002). There was no significant difference in scleral stroma thickness between eyes with anterior scleral inflammation and normal eyes (464.7 μm vs 434.2 μm, p=0.11). We separately analysed 11 eyes with diffuse scleritis and 6 eyes with diffuse episcleritis. While the conjunctival epithelium and conjunctival stroma/episclera were thicker in eyes with diffuse scleritis than in those with diffuse episcleritis (78.9 μm vs 50.4 μm, p=0.003 and 445.5 μm vs 308.8 μm, p=0.033, respectively), the scleral stroma thickness in eyes with diffuse scleritis was comparable with normal eyes (465.5 μm vs 434.2 μm, p=0.43).
Conclusions The swelling of diffuse scleritis occurred within the episclera rather than in the scleral stroma. Since optical coherence tomography visualises the morphology of the episclera and sclera, it can be useful for evaluating inflammation activity and therapeutic effects in diffuse scleritis.
- Sclera and Episclera