Scleral contact lenses are a hot topic in the world of eye care. These specialty contact lenses have many benefits that allow them to provide clear and comfortable vision to a wide range of people, even those who unable to wear traditional soft contact lenses. They can even be used in the management of several eye conditions, including dry eye disease or keratoconus.
What are Scleral Contact Lenses?
Scleral lenses are large-diameter rigid lenses. Their large size means they do not touch the surface of the cornea (or the front surface of the eye). Instead, they completely vault over the corneal surface and rest comfortably on the white part of the eye, referred to as the sclera. They are made of a rigid material, similar to traditional rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses. However, because they cover the front of the eye instead of resting directly on the cornea as an RGP lens would, scleral lenses are usually considered much more comfortable than classic rigid lenses. Additionally, before applying scleral lenses, the well of the lens is filled with a nourishing fluid solution that keeps the front of the eye lubricated and comfortable even after hours of wear. Their size, stability, and design allow scleral lenses to provide excellent optics and great vision.
Scleral Lenses for Dry Eyes
Scleral lenses have become an increasingly popular contact lens option for people affected by dry eye disease. The safe liquid solution that is used to fill the well of scleral lenses helps prevent symptoms such as dryness, burning, and irritation by providing consistent nourishment to the eye’s surface. It also provides the cornea with a safe environment to heal itself in cases of moderate to severe dry eye disease. For these reasons, scleral lenses may be an option for those who have previously struggled to wear soft contact lenses or RGP lenses due to dryness and comfort issues.
Scleral Lenses for Managing Keratoconus
Eye care providers oftentimes turn to scleral lenses to provide clear vision to those affected by keratoconus. Keratoconus is a degenerative corneal condition that results in an irregular corneal shape. The irregularity of the surface of the eye means visual correction with traditional options such as glasses or contact lenses are oftentimes less effective. Scleral lenses may be an excellent option for these patients because the large shape and stable material can help counteract the irregularities of the cornea, and can deliver clear vision. Many people with advanced keratoconus prefer the vision they have through scleral lenses over any other corrective option.
Scleral Lenses Are An Option for Everyone
While scleral lenses have become popular in the treatment of complex eye conditions such as dry eye disease or keratoconus, they are still an option for everyone. The lenses can be made in a wide range of prescriptions and can correct for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Some scleral lenses can even be made with a multifocal design to take the place of bifocals or reading glasses. Many people can experience the superior vision and comfort that scleral lenses can offer. If you are interested in trying these lenses, ask your optometrist at Neal Eye Group if they are an option for you!