What are Scleral Contact Lenses?
Scleral contact lenses are a large diameter rigid gas permeable lens that rests on the sclera (the white part of the eye) and creates a tear-filled vault over the cornea.
Who Benefits from Scleral Lenses?
These specialty lenses are a good option for patients who have been told their eyes are “difficult to fit” or that they have a condition which prevents them from wearing contact lenses. Some examples include:
• Dry eye
o unlike traditional contact lenses, scleral lenses minimize eye irritation. Traditional contact lenses sit directly onto the cornea, which can exacerbate already irritated eyes. They also tend to soak up moisture from the front part of the eye. Scleral lenses vault over the irritated cornea and land on the sclera (white part of the eye). They also provide ongoing hydration to the eyes. As it vaults the cornea, it contains a liquid reservoir that provides a constant source of hydration.
o a refractive error caused by an irregular eye shape. Traditional contact lenses can rotate on the cornea causing fluctuation in vision. A scleral lens is more stable on irregular corneas and provide clear and stable vision.
• High Refractive Error
o Traditional lenses may not be available in power needed.
• Patients with corneal diseases, dystrophies, and degenerations, for example, Keratoconus. Patients with corneal scars and irregularities, or who have had a corneal transplant or complications from refractive surgery (LASIK, PRK, RK)
o Patients with these conditions have a cornea that is altered in some way. They do not have a perfect dome shape, therefore vision through glasses and traditional contact lenses will be poor. The uniform curve of the scleral lens, with the fluid filled reservoir, fills in all the corneal irregularities and creates a perfectly rounded surface.
How to fit Scleral Lenses
Scleral lenses require specific diagnostic equipment. At your appointment, we will use a device called a topographer to measure your cornea. The topographer produces a high-resolution image of your cornea and provides parameters to design your customized lenses. We then send images to the lab to produce a set of lenses designed specifically to your eye. After we ensure the lenses are a perfect fit, we instruct you on how to insert, remove, and take care of the scleral lenses.
Speak with one of our doctors to see if scleral lenses are right for you.
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