Specialty Contact Lens
What are Scleral Lenses?
Custom-designed scleral lenses help patient with corneal irregularities achieve dramatic improvements in visual acuity and comfort. Scleral lenses vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera while avoiding the diseased cornea. This creates a new optical surface instead of the damaged cornea and prevents discomfort by resting on the sclera of the eye. Futhermore, the space between the cornea and the back of the scleral lens acts as a fluid reservoir, cotinuously bathing the cornea. This can provide relief for people with severe ocular surface disease and may help the ocular surface to heal.
Both rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses and scleral lenses provide the eyes with sufficient oxygen. However, scleral lenses provide more comfort and stable vision than with traditional RGP lenses. In most cases, scleral contact lenses are the optimal choice treatment for patients with keratoconus and irregularly-shaped corneas.
One of the most common conditions that scleral lenses help to address is keratoconus. Scleral lenses help with this condition by providing abnormal dome-like surface over the normal cornea, creating proper refraction for clear vision.
If you have Keratoconus and are interested in scleral lenses, Scleral Lens expert, Dr. Sandra Grossett at Eyes in the ‘Burg can help.
What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a rare, progressive disease that affects the cornea, which is the clear, transparent layer at the front of the eye. Due to the irregular shape of the cornea, specialty contact lenses are typically prescribed to allow the best possible vision for the patient, which can no longer be achieved with eyeglasses. Due to the progressive nature of Keratoconus the cornea may still change and continued, frequent follow up with your doctor is essential to maximize the quality of vision.
1. Our patient report comfort as the most prominent feature of the scleral lens
Throughout the fitting process, we survey our patients on how the lenses feel, and not surpisingly, the usual response we get is “fine” or “I can’t feel them at all”.
The size of the scleral lens is one of the reasons that it is more comfortable than a traditional gas permeable contact lens. A traditional contact lens is much smaller, typically 9-10mm in diameter. With each blink, this contact lens moves a bit over the cornea and upper eyelid tends to roll over the edge of the lens as well. Many patients report being unable to wear them for more than a few hours at a time due to traditional RGP lenses.
The scleral lens, on the other hand, is larger in diameter and spreads the weight over a much greater, less sensitive area so than when you blink, the eyelid doesn’t catch the edge of the lens. Moreover, because the lens vaults over the cornea, it protects the corena from any abrasion caused by blinking or external irritants. The scleral lens is made up of highly oxygen permeable materials and provides a soothing bath of artificial tears that refresh the ocular surface.
2. Scleral Lenses Offer Improved Vision
Once you have been properly fitted for scleral lenses, you can expect to gradually see improvements in clarity, color and detailed contrast between multiple images and objects within your visual field. Because the lenses sit firmly on the eye, they offer more stable vision than traditinal contact lenses.