Scleral Lenses Mean Comfortable Contacts for More Patients
Contact lenses are a great option, giving you the chance to go through your day with clear vision and without glasses. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t think they can wear contact lenses, either because they find them uncomfortable, or because they’ve been told their eyes are too hard to fit.
The truth is that contact lenses may still be an option for you. It’s all a matter of finding the right contact lenses. We’re excited to offer scleral lenses, which fit and function slightly differently from standard contact lenses.
Benefits of Scleral Lenses
- More comfortable than regular contacts in some cases
- More stable than regular contacts
- They usually don’t touch the cornea
- They help regulate issues caused by an uneven corneal surface
- They help keep the eye hydrated
- Decreased sensitivity to light
Interested in scleral lenses? Schedule a contact lens exam and fitting today.
What Are Scleral Contact Lenses?
Scleral contacts are a special type of contact lenses that, simply put, cover more of the eye. Standard contact lenses cover the surface of the cornea. Scleral lenses, on the other hand, extend past the edges of the cornea to the sclera (the medical term for the white part of your eye.)
Who Benefits From Scleral Lenses?
Lots of patients have tried contact lenses in the past but found them too uncomfortable or difficult to wear. Scleral contact lenses offer extra stability and a higher level of comfort in many cases. These special lenses may be a particularly good option for patients who’ve been told their eyes are “difficult to fit” or that they have a condition that prevents them from wearing contact lenses.
Standard contacts can aggravate an extreme case of dry eye, making them almost unbearable to wear.
Scleral lenses leave a space between the surface of the cornea and the lens which acts like a reservoir, preventing moisture from evaporating and keeping the eye hydrated throughout the day.
Astigmatism is a refractive error caused by an irregular eye shape. Not only does this impact vision, but it makes contact lenses rotate, causing fluctuations in vision.
Scleral lenses are great for astigmatism because they’re more stable than regular contacts.
A typical cornea has a uniform thickness, with a consistent curve over the surface. When the cornea starts to thin and bulge outwards in the centre, it’s called keratoconus.
Because scleral lenses vault over the cornea rather than actually touching it, they’re perfect for correcting corneal abnormalities like keratoconus. The uniform curve of the lens essentially acts the way a typical cornea would, focusing light at a single point on your retina for clearer vision.
FAQs About Scleral Lenses
Scleral contacts are contact lenses that cover a larger portion of the eye. Rather than resting directly on the cornea, scleral lenses arc over the cornea to rest on the sclera (the white part) of the eye.
Scleral lenses leave a space between the surface of the cornea and the lens. This space functions sort of like a reservoir; trapping moisture against the eye to keep it hydrated all day. Scleral lenses are also a good option for patients with irregular corneas, simulating a smooth ocular surface for patients with keratoconus and other corneal irregularities.
Wearing scleral contact lenses is different from wearing traditional contact lenses. One of our assistants will take you through some insertion and removal training to make sure you’re comfortable using them. They’ll also go over care instructions to help you keep your scleral lenses in the best possible condition.
Each scleral lens is custom-made for each individual eye. As a result, these fitting these lenses does take quite a bit more time and experience than conventional lenses. Dr. Patel will perform a fitting which includes computerized corneal topography; a 3-dimensional map of the entire corneal surface and Anterior Optical Coherence Tomography, which measures and analyzes the entire front portion of the eye in cross section.
It may take some additional adjustments to get the right fit.
Many patients wear their scleral lenses for up to 14 hours daily. Some patients may need to remove the lenses, clean them, and reapply them with fresh saline periodically throughout the course of the day to stay comfortable and get the best possible vision.
Depending on the makeup of your natural tears and how well you take care of your contacts, scleral lenses should last about as long as other rigid lenses: approximately 1-2 years or as prescription changes.