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Incidence and Prevalence of Episcleritis and Scleritis in Northern California

Honik, Grace BS*; Wong, Ira G. MD, MS†,‡; Gritz, David C. MD, MPH*,†,§,¶

doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e3182a407c3
Clinical Science

Purpose: To evaluate the incidence and prevalence of episcleritis and scleritis in a large well-defined population in Northern California.

Methods: Secondary analysis was performed on data from the Northern California Epidemiology of Uveitis Study. The patient database of a large regional health maintenance organization was searched for all patients who potentially experienced ocular inflammatory disease during the 12-month study period. Medical records were reviewed for all potential patients to confirm ocular inflammatory disease and specific diagnosis, establish the time of onset, and collect additional data. Age- and sex-stratified quarterly study population data were used to calculate incidence rates and prevalence ratios.

Results: After reviewing 2011 possible cases, 297 new-onset cases of episcleritis, 39 prior-onset cases of episcleritis, 25 new-onset cases of scleritis, and 8 prior-onset cases of scleritis were confirmed. For episcleritis, the overall incidence was 41.0 per 100,000 person-years and an annual prevalence ratio of 52.6 per 100,000. The overall incidence of scleritis was 3.4 per 100,000 person-years and an annual prevalence ratio of 5.2 per 100,000 persons. For both episcleritis and scleritis, there was a statistically significant increase in eye disease in older patients (P = 0.05 and <0.001, respectively) and for women in comparison with men (P = 0.001 and <0.001, respectively). Patients with scleritis were older than those with episcleritis (P = 0.017).

Conclusions: This study found that patients with scleritis were older than those with episcleritis and that women had higher rates of both episcleritis and scleritis compared with what men had.

Author Information

*Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY;

Francis I. Proctor Foundation for Research in Ophthalmology and the Department of Ophthalmology, University of California, San Francisco, CA;

Department of Ophthalmology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA;

§Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY; and

The Permanente Medical Group, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Oakland and Richmond, CA.

Reprints: David C. Gritz, Department of Ophthalmology, Montefiore Medical Center, 111 East 210th St, Bronx, NY 10467 (e-mail:

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

The original data collection and study were supported by a Permanente Medical Group Innovations Grant and the Kaiser Research Foundation Institute Direct Community Benefit Investment Program. This research was funded in part by an unrestricted institutional grant award from the Research to Prevent Blindness Foundation. The funding organization had no role in the design or conduct of this research.

Received May 28, 2013

Accepted July 05, 2013

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.