There Are Contact Lenses Out There, Made Just for Your Eyes.

Have you ever been told that you are not a good candidate for contact lenses? If you struggle with any eye condition you may have given up on contact lenses as a possible method for vision correction.

Let’s discuss a special type of contact lens that might be right for your eyes.

Scleral contact lenses are custom-designed, large-diameter, rigid gas permeable lenses that completely cover the corneal surface (clear layer covering the colored part of the eye) and extend onto the conjunctiva over the sclera (white part of the eye). These special lenses allow for clear vision with exceptional comfort, particularly for those who have experienced limited success with other types of contacts.

Ocular conditions such as Keratoconus, Pellucid marginal degeneration, post- corneal transplant, postLasik/PRK/RK, irregular or high astigmatism, and other corneal degenerations can result in an irregular corneal surface, which leads to decreased and distorted vision that is difficult to correct with glasses or conventional soft contact lenses.

The scleral lens design maintains its uniform and regular curvature as it vaults over the irregular cornea without touching or conforming to the existing corneal shape, unlike soft contact lenses. Therefore, the corneal surface, along with any irregularity, is masked by the dome-shaped even surface of the scleral lens. This allows the light to enter the eye and focus images clearly instead of in a distorted manner. Scleral lenses also reduce glare by dedicating a large central area of the lens to the prescription that maintains a stable position over the pupil (central black part of the eye). This is a beneficial feature for those who have issues with nighttime driving glare as well as athletes.

Scleral contact lenses offer unprecedented comfort and protection, especially when compared to smaller corneal rigid contact lenses. The edge of the scleral lens lands on a much less sensitive layer of the eye than the cornea and thus decreases lens awareness. The larger diameter of the scleral contact lens allows for the lens edge to be tucked underneath the eyelids, letting the eyelids glide over the smooth surface of the scleral lens with every blink instead of bumping into the edge of the contact lens. The stability of scleral lenses is much greater than that of corneal rigid lenses, permitting less movement and thus less sensation of the lens. Since many individuals wearing scleral contact lenses have damaged corneal tissue, protecting the cornea becomes essential to eye health. Scleral lenses make no contact with the cornea and thus do not mechanically rub against the cornea with every blink. Instead, these lenses have a fluid barrier in between the cornea and the lens that protects the corneal tissue.

Dryness is a common symptom among contact lens wearers, especially for those already suffering from chronic dry eye syndrome or keratoconjunctivitis sicca. People diagnosed with auto-immune disorders, such as Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis or Sjogren’s, commonly suffer from severe Dry Eyes. As mentioned above, there is a fluid layer in between the cornea and the scleral lens that serves as a liquid reservoir or a cushion layer. This allows your cornea to be constantly protected and hydrated decreasing the symptoms associated with dry eyes.

Scleral contact lenses are tailor-made to fit individuals with unique and intricate eyes, especially those who have had limited success with glasses, conventional soft contact lenses, or corneal rigid contact lenses. Scleral contact lenses provide a level of visual clarity that may be unattainable by other modalities of vision correction with unparalleled comfort, hydration and protection. These lenses may be the answer to your unique visual and ocular needs.

Sources: Barnett, Melissa OD, FAAO, FSLS, FBCLA. “Enhancing Scleral Lens Comfort.” Contact Lens Spectrum. Issue 16 (April 2018). Contact Lens Spectrum. https://www.clspectrum.com/newsletters/scleral-lens-monthly/april-2018. 23 April 2018.
Barnett, Melissa OD, FAAO, FSLS. “Utilization of Scleral Lenses for Ocular Surface Disease: Scleral lenses can protect, lubricate, and support the ocular surface.” Contact Lens Spectrum, Volume 31, Issue: July 2016, page(s): 36-38, 40, 41. Contact Lens Spectrum. https://www.clspectrum.com/issues/2016/july-2016/utilization-of-scleral-lenses-for-ocular-surface-d. 23 April 2018.
Bennet, Edward S. OD, MSED, Jeffrey Sonsino, OD, and S. Barry Eiden, OD. “The continuum of Care for Keratoconus.” Contact Lens Spectrum. Series 2 Volume 33. Issue: February 2018, page(s): 20-23, 25-29. Print.
Brukic, Mile OD, FAAO. “Caring for the Keratoconus Patient.” Optometric Management. Series 1 Volume 53. Issue: January 2018, page(s): 20-21. Print.
Jedlicka, Jason OD. “Scleral Contact Lenses.” All About Vision. Access Media Group LLC, 12 February 2018. http://www.allaboutvision.com/contacts/scleral-lenses.htm. 23 April 2018.
Dr. Prapti Chandrani

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