Contact lenses are one of the most popular solutions for patients who need prescription lenses in order to be able to see clearly. Unfortunately, not everyone is a good candidate for traditional style lenses. However, this doesn’t mean that these patients can’t benefit from this popular solution.
Scleral lenses are just one type of specialty contact lens that makes it possible for people who couldn’t previously wear contacts to enjoy the benefits of this convenient and effective solution.
Scleral lenses are a form of specialist contact lens owing to their design, which differs significantly from that of conventional contacts.
Scleral lenses are large-diameter contact lenses that are made from special gas-permeable material which allows oxygen to pass directly through the lens, reaching the surface of the eye to keep them comfortable. However, rather than remaining in contact with the entire surface of the eye, scleral lenses actually vault over the cornea, leaving a clear space between the back of the lens and the cornea itself. This space is sufficient to accommodate many corneal abnormalities.
There are several different sizes of scleral lenses available, making it possible for patients and their eye doctors to find a variety that suits their individual needs. While most conventional lenses are around 9.0-9.5mm in diameter, scleral lenses start at 14.5mm in diameter and extend right up to 24mm across.
Many people think that specialty contact lenses are only for patients with corneal abnormalities. However, the fact is that any patient who has previously had difficulty achieving clear vision using glasses or conventional contact lenses could potentially be a good candidate for scleral lenses. This includes those patients who have the following:
Chemical burn injuries
Keratoconus (a condition characterized by the thinning and bulging of the cornea)
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (a condition that damages skin tissue and mucous membranes)
High levels of astigmatism
Complications that have occurred as a result of LASIK laser vision correction
Sjogren’s syndrome (an immune disorder that affects the eyes)
Corneal ectasia (a condition characterized by the thinning of the corneal tissue)
There is a range of different benefits associated with scleral lenses and principally with the unique design elements that make them valuable to patients who aren’t suitable candidates for conventional lenses. These benefits include:
Greater stability on the eye. Their larger size means that scleral lenses are actually more stable on the eye than conventional contact lenses and less able to move around. This means that you will have to adjust them far less, and patients find that this feature also gives them greater clarity of vision.
Easier to handle. Their larger size also makes scleral lenses easier to place in your eye and remove.
Superior comfort. Many patients agree that scleral lenses are more comfortable than many other varieties owing to their gas-permeable nature that allows plenty of oxygen to reach the eyes.
Great for dry eyes. The space between the back of the lens and the corneal surface acts as a fluid reservoir, trapping tear film on the surface of the eyes in order to keep them comfortable. This helps to counteract dry eye syndrome and makes them an ideal choice for patients suffering from this condition.
Space for corneal abnormalities. As previously pointed out, the vault over the corneal surface also ensures that there is space to accommodate any corneal abnormalities such as the bulge associated with keratoconus, or corneal scarring that makes conventional contact lenses uncomfortable.
If you would like to find out more about scleral lenses, or if you would like to schedule a consultation please contact our office in Lambertville, MI.