Scleritis eye inflammation is a fairly common condition that can be cured with proper treatment. Your doctor will prescribe medication appropriate for your situation, but there are natural therapies you can also add to your treatment plan. One of the easiest and potentially more helpful of these is vitamin supplementation that won’t necessarily cure your scleritis, but can help relieve symptoms and promote faster healing.
Scleritis is an inflammation of the sclera, the white outer wall of the eye. Scleritis is usually caused by infections, chemical injuries or autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, although in some cases, the cause is unknown. It occurs most frequently in the 30 to 60 age group and affects women more than men. Symptoms include blurred vision, eye pain, red patches, sensitivity to light and tearing. If left untreated by corticosteroid eye drops, anti-inflammatory drugs or other medications, scleritis can lead to vision loss.
Vitamin A contains antioxidant compounds that are important in promoting healthy vision by reducing inflammation. Vitamin A also helps the cornea, the eye’s surface, to create a barrier to bacteria and viruses, decreasing the risk of eye infections. As an added vision bonus, vitamin A plays a role in decreasing the risk of macular degeneration, a chronic eye disease that causes vision loss in the center of your field of vision. Food sources of vitamin A include beef and chicken liver, whole milk and cheese, carrots and leafy greens.
A case report published in 1998 in the “Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology” described the situation of a patient who developed scleritis due to a vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is important for metabolism and helps in the formation of red blood cells and in maintaining a healthy central nervous system. Vitamin B12 is found in eggs, meat, poultry, shellfish and milk products.
Vitamin C has been shown to relieve the pain and light sensitivity of scleritis more rapidly and to shorten the duration of the condition than with medicinal treatment alone. Since vitamin C is safe in relatively high does, taking 2,000-milligram supplements several times a day can be effective in relieving the pain and redness quickly, according to Paul R. Honan, M.D., associate professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine.
A vitamin D deficiency can cause inflammation, one reason the vitamin is often prescribed to help treat and prevent inflammatory diseases like heart disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and, potentially, scleritis. A study published in April 2011 in the “Archives of Ophthalmology” also found that women who got the most vitamin D had a 59 percent decreased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, showing the vitamin’s potential effects in promoting eye and vision health.
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Scleritis; Paul B. Griggs, M.D.; August 2008
- Paul Honan, M.D.: Iritis, Scleritis, Episcleritis
- “Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology"; Scleritis Associated With Vitamin B12 Deficiency; B.C. Weston, et al.; August 1998
- All About Vision; Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene: Eye Benefits; Gary Heiting, OD; October 2010
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Vitamin B12; Linda Vorvick, M.D.; March 2009
- "Archives of Opthalmology”; Vitamin D Status and Early Age-Related Macular Degeneration in Postmenopausal Women; Amy Millen, et al.; April 2011