Some people don’t like the way they look in eyeglasses. Others find it inconvenient when their glasses fog up in cold weather. That’s why many people who need prescription eyewear turn to contact lenses. They are an easy, comfortable way to live an eyeglass-free life. But not everyone can enjoy the ease of contact lens wear due to dry eyes or certain medical conditions. Luckily, scleral lenses have opened up a whole new world of possibilities.
Scleral lenses are a type of contact lenses made of oxygen-permeable material. They are larger in diameter compared to traditional contact lenses. Unlike the traditional ones that come in contact with the eye’s surface, scleral lenses vault over it. It sits still on the white part of the eye known as the sclera. Sterile saline fills the space between the eye and the lens’s surface, acting as a fluid reservoir. This fills in corneal irregularities, thus restoring vision. Since the edges of the lens sit on the sclera, it also increases comfort.
Several eye conditions might make you a candidate for scleral lenses. Your eye doctor may recommend scleral lenses because of one of two reasons:
• It’s Medically Necessary. At first, eye doctors designed scleral lenses to treat keratoconus. It’s a progressive eye disorder in which your cornea thins. This causes it to bulge outward in a cone shape. But scleral lenses have expanded from their usual mainstream application. In recent years, scleral lenses have come to occupy a vital position in the eye and vision care industry. Eye doctors now prescribe them to treat irregular cornea or ocular surface disease.
They also recommend scleral lenses to treat corneal irregularities caused by keratoconus, trauma, corneal surgery, or complications from specific eye surgical procedures. Also, eye doctors prescribe scleral lenses to patients who are trying to manage their ocular surface disease. Systemic conditions like Stevens-Johnson syndrome, Graft-versus-host disease, and Sjögren’s syndrome usually present with an ocular surface disease. This comorbidity can interfere with their everyday life and lower their quality of life.
• Refractive Errors. Some people with moderate to severe astigmatism complain of poor vision when they are using traditional contact lenses. For example, some patients find soft contacts unstable, causing visual fluctuations. Corneal gas-permeable (GP) contact lenses can mask astigmatism. They are an excellent option for astigmatic patients who are not satisfied with soft contacts. But GP contacts are also unstable for those whose horizontal meridian is steepest. This causes their contacts to slide. GP contacts are also not a suitable option for patients with lenticular astigmatism. People who suffer from high astigmatism and are unhappy with traditional contact lenses are great candidates for scleral lenses. Those who suffer from dry eye disease and refractive error may also welcome scleral lenses. Unlike soft contacts, scleral lenses use a GP material. They do not dehydrate easily, which can be uncomfortable after wearing for hours on end. Besides, scleral lenses hold a fluid reservoir, as mentioned. This gives your eyes a continuous lubricating tear layer.
Have you tried soft, GP, and hybrid contact lenses but failed? At Eyes On You, PC, we can help determine if scleral lenses are the best solution for your eye problem. Visit our office today in Portland, Oregon, to schedule your eye checkup.