What are scleral lenses?
Scleral lenses are a type of contact lenses that is designed to cover the entire sclera (white part) of the eye, rather than just the cornea (clear part) as traditional contact lenses do. They are larger than traditional contact lenses and are made of highly oxygen – permeable materials. The lenses rest on the sclera, creating a vault over the cornea that holds a layer of tear film against the eye’s surface. They are designed to treat certain eye conditions or irregularities, that often do not respond to other types of treatments.
What are the benefits of scleral lenses?
Scleral lenses can provide several benefits compared to traditional contact lenses, such as increased comfort, improved vision, and longer wearing time. Because they are larger, they tend to be more stable on the eye and less likely to move around or dislodge during activities. They are also less likely to dry out or cause discomfort because they don’t touch the cornea directly.
However, scleral lenses require a more involved fitting process than traditional contact lenses. They must be customized to fit the unique shape of each individual’s eye, which involves taking precise measurements and creating a specialized lens design. Additionally, they require more maintenance than traditional lenses, including regular cleaning and disinfecting to prevent infection.
What medical conditions do scleral lenses treat?
Scleral lenses can be used to treat a variety of eye conditions, to improve vision, and reduce pain and light sensitivity including:
- Keratoconus: This is a condition where the cornea thins and bulges outward, causing distorted vision. Scleral lenses can help improve vision by creating a smooth and regular surface over the cornea.
- Irregular astigmatism: This is a condition where the cornea is shaped irregularly, causing blurred or distorted vision. Scleral lenses can help improve vision by creating a regular and smooth surface over the cornea.
- Dry eye syndrome: Scleral lenses can help people with dry eye syndrome by creating a reservoir of fluid between the lens and the eye. This is designed to keep the eye moist and reduce discomfort.
- Corneal ectasia: This is a condition where the cornea thins and bulges, similar to keratoconus. Scleral lenses can help improve vision by creating a regular and smooth surface over the cornea.
- Post-refractive surgery complications: Scleral lenses can help improve vision after refractive surgery, such as LASIK or PRK, by creating a regular and smooth surface over the cornea. They may also be used to treat surgical complications after cataract transplants and other injuries to the eyes
- Stevens-Johnson syndrome: This is a rare condition where the mucous membranes of the eyes and mouth become inflamed and damaged. Scleral lenses can help protect the eye and improve vision by creating a barrier between the eye and the environment.
- Sjogren’s syndrome: This is a serious autoimmune disorder that impacts the body’s ability to produce tears. The primary symptoms are dry mouth and dry eye. Scleral lenses help to keep the eye moist and reduce discomfort.
Scleral lenses can be a good option for people with a range of eye conditions who are unable to achieve good vision or comfort with traditional contact lenses or glasses.
Coastal Skin and Eye Institute offers these special lenses to help you see better with more comfort. Contact us at our Carmel Mountain or Encinitas location to schedule a consultation to determine if scleral lenses are the right choice for your individual needs.