Masquerade scleritis

Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2005 Dec;13(6):479-82. doi: 10.1080/09273940591004133.


Purpose: To report two cases in which malignancy masqueraded as scleritis, delaying the diagnosis.

Methods: Two patients initially diagnosed and treated for unilateral scleritis were referred for management of persistent inflammation. Additional evaluation uncovered underlying malignant processes.

Results: The first patient presented with scleritis initially responsive to systemic corticosteroids, with relapse one month later. Upon referral, peripheral fundus examination revealed elevated lesions. Additional studies confirmed the diagnosis of choroidal melanoma. The patient was treated with proton-beam irradiation. The second patient developed necrotizing scleritis unresponsive to systemic steroids, methotrexate, and cyclophosphamide. A scleral biopsy disclosed an undifferentiated high-grade carcinoma, likely metastatic. Exenteration was performed.

Conclusions: Scleritis can present a diagnostic challenge. It is often the sole initial manifestation of an occult systemic problem. Treatment-resistant scleritis should raise the suspicion of an infectious or malignant masquerade.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnosis*
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Choroid Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Choroid Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Choroid Neoplasms / surgery
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / diagnosis*
  • Melanoma / radiotherapy
  • Sclera / pathology
  • Scleritis / diagnosis*