Scleral specialty contact lenses are large-diameter lenses that are designed to rest on the sclera (white part of the eye) and create a tear reservoir over the cornea.
The lens has a curve that acts like a regular cornea and helps focus all light to a single point on the retina. Patients with keratoconus, post-refractive surgeries, corneal transplants, corneal scars, high refractive errors, severe dry eye and other eye conditions can find improvement in vision with scleral lenses. In other words, scleral lenses are an alternative for patients with keratoconus, corneal ectasia and post-refractive errors.
Lenses can be made for all ages and most prescriptions with special adaptations to meet your specific needs.
Benefits of Scleral Contact Lenses:
- Keep eyes hydrated with moisture layer
- More stable on the eye and more comfortable than regular contact lenses
- Mitigates issues caused by an uneven corneal surface
Patients who find contact lenses uncomfortable or difficult to wear day to day can find success with scleral lenses. Patients who have previously been prevented from wearing contact lenses because of an eye condition can now wear scleral lenses and will likely find them comfortable.
Contact Lens Treatment for Dry Eye
Traditional contact lenses can irritate dry eyes making them very uncomfortable to wear.
Because of the liquid reservoir between a scleral lens and the cornea, these lenses can provide relief to dry eye patients who have been unsuccessful with other dry eye treatments.
Keratoconus is a progressive disease that affects the cornea by causing it to bulge forward resulting in an irregular cone shape. Scleral lenses may be a good solution to treat or manage this disease and patients should speak with their optometrist.
Keratoconus can affect one or both eyes and can cause a variety of symptoms including blurred vision, double vision, dizziness, sensitivity to light and trouble seeing when wearing glasses or contact lenses.
Astigmatism is a common refractive error that occurs when the cornea is irregularly shaped and prevents light from focusing properly on the retina, resulting in vision being blurred or distorted at all distances.
Toric lenses are specialty contact lenses specifically manufactured to correct astigmatism. They can be made in any type of lens including scleral, hybrid or standard soft lenses. Unlike the cornea that naturally has rotational symmetry, an eye with astigmatism is shaped more like a football with bulging sides instead of being spherical. This
Scleral lenses are great for astigmatism because they are more stable than regular contact lenses.
Book a comprehensive eye exam with one of our eye doctors who will evaluate your vision and eye health to see if scleral lenses are a good option for you. If you are a candidate your optometrist will guide you through a specialty contact lens fitting to find a custom lens that will fit all your needs.
How are scleral contact lenses made?
An optometrist will generate a three-dimensional image of the surface of your cornea. The sclera part of your eye (the white part) will support the lens. The ocular surface is inputted into a precision fabrication machine that makes the lens out of highly oxygen permeable polymer.
Since scleral lenses are custom made for you the fitting process may take multiple visits to ensure the best vision and fit.
How do you insert and remove these lenses?
Some fluid is allowed to drip from the lens as it is inserted in order to ensure no bubbles become trapped under the lens after it is seated on the eye. Once the fitting of your scleral lens is our experienced technicians will guide you on insertion and removal and handling as they require more precision and caution than traditional lenses.
How long can they be worn?
Many patients can wear their scleral lenses for 12-14 hours each day, although some patients may need to remove the lenses occasionally throughout the day to clean them and reapply fresh saline to stay comfortable.
How long do scleral lenses last?
Depending on the makeup of your natural tears and how well you take care of your scleral lenses, they should last approximately 1-2 years.