Scleral Contact Lenses
While traditional soft contact lenses are a popular choice for many, not everyone can comfortably wear them or experience their best vision in them due to corneal irregularities, a high amount of astigmatism, dry eye disease, complications after eye surgery, and other ocular conditions.
If you’ve been told in the past that you aren’t a suitable candidate to wear contact lenses, you may find that scleral lenses are suitable for you!
What are Scleral Contact Lenses?
Scleral contact lenses are larger than conventional contact lenses. They are large-diameter gas permeable lenses which are designed to vault over the entire surface of the eye, and they rest on the sclera, otherwise known as the “white” part of the eye.
Scleral contact lenses essentially replace the irregularly shaped cornea with a perfectly smooth optical surface to correct vision problems caused by keratoconus, a high amount of astigmatism, and other corneal irregularities. Since scleral contact lenses rest on the sclera, which is a less sensitive part of the eye, they can also be more comfortable for people who have dry eye disease.
Scleral contact lenses are customized for the individual patient’s needs.
Who is a Good Candidate for Scleral Contact Lenses?
People who have one or more of these eye diseases or conditions may find scleral contact lenses more comfortable than conventional contact lenses, and scleral lenses may also provide clearer, sharper vision.
The cornea, which is the front surface of the eye, is normally round. Keratoconus is a condition in which the cornea is thin, and cone shaped. The irregular shape of the cornea prevents light entering the eye to be focused correctly on the retina, and this causes distorted vision. People who have keratoconus can benefit from being fitted with scleral contact lenses because these lenses are larger, and more stable on the eye, providing sharp, clear vision.
Dry Eye Disease
Dry eye disease is unfortunately common, and people who suffer from dry eye experience uncomfortable or even painful symptoms which make wearing conventional contact lenses very uncomfortable.
For people who have dry eye, scleral lenses may be a suitable alternative to conventional contact lenses because they vault over the entire surface of the eye instead of resting on the cornea, which is a more sensitive part of the eye, and this can feel more comfortable.
Scleral contact lenses also have a small space between the cornea and the lens filled with saline solution, which provides a constant source of hydration for the eye, and a source of relief for people who have dry eye.
People who have astigmatism, which is an irregularly shaped cornea, experience blurry and distorted vision. While many people with astigmatism can experience clear, comfortable vision with eyeglasses and conventional contact lenses, sometimes the astigmatism is too severe. People who have severe astigmatism can benefit from wearing scleral contact lenses, because the scleral lenses vault over the entire surface of the eye, effectively providing a smooth and properly shaped front surface, and better vision as a result.
Chemical or Burn Injuries
People who have sustained a chemical burn or a burn caused by heat on their eyes can unfortunately have scarring and irregular astigmatism because of the injuries. Conventional contact lenses can be too uncomfortable or even painful for these people to wear, and they may not be able to provide clear, sharp vision due to irregularities in the cornea. Scleral contact lenses can help promote healing of the surface of the eye due to the cushion of moisture, and because they vault over the entire surface of the eye, they can provide more stable, clear vision as a result.
Scleral Contact Lens Appointment
If you have been told in the past that you cannot wear contact lenses due to dry eye, keratoconus, or other ocular issues, schedule an appointment with the doctors at Pathway Eye to see if you are a good candidate for scleral contact lenses.