Scleral lenses are specialty contact lenses that have gained popularity among eye care providers and patients alike. Scleral lenses are large diameter contact lenses that vault over the front surface of the eye and rest smoothly on the sclera, or the white area. Before putting on the lens, it is filled with a nourishing fluid that keeps the front surface of the eye lubricated throughout the entire day. The unique lens design and stable material of scleral lenses provides many people with clear and comfortable vision.
They are an appealing option for many people, especially those who have unsuccessfully worn traditional soft contact lenses, or those with severe dry eye disease. They can also be useful for those with high amounts of refractive error, and for people with irregular corneal surfaces. Continue reading to learn more about scleral lenses.
Scleral Lenses for Dry Eye Disease
For those with moderate to severe dry eye disease, traditional contact lenses can be uncomfortable. Many people find that soft lenses worsen their symptoms of dryness and irritation. Others may only be able to tolerate wearing their contact lenses for a few hours at a time. Scleral lenses can be an excellent option for these people and have proven to be an effective treatment option for dry eye disease. Because scleral lenses are filled with a safe and nourishing liquid before they are inserted, the front surface of the eye has a constant source of lubrication throughout the day. Most people with moderate to severe dry eyes find that the fluid reservoir reduces symptoms such as burning, grittiness, redness, or irritation. The lenses can also help improve vision by creating a stable tear film and eliminating many of the visual fluctuations that are associated with dry eye disease.
High Astigmatism and Irregular Corneas
While traditional contact lenses have come a long way in the range of prescriptions they can correct, they still have some limitations. Some people with high amounts of astigmatism must rely on specialty lenses in order to achieve clear and consistent clarity. Scleral lenses work well for people with high amounts of astigmatism; these patients do not have to worry about their contact lenses moving around throughout the day, and the rigid material of scleral lenses provides clear and crisp vision by stabilizing the front of the eye. Scleral lenses are also commonly used in the management of a corneal condition called keratoconus. Keratoconus is a progressive condition that results in a very irregular corneal surface, which is difficult to correct with regular contact lenses or glasses. The stable design of scleral lenses helps minimize the effects of an irregular cornea, and can provide clear and steady vision.
Scleral Lenses for All Prescriptions
Scleral lenses are also commonly utilized for people with strong prescriptions, like high amounts of myopia. Where regular glasses may be thick and bulky for people with strong prescriptions, scleral lenses do not have this problem. Switching to scleral lenses can help reduce the amount of distortions caused by thick lenses. Beyond high amounts of refractive error, scleral lenses can be used in nearly all prescriptions. Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and even presbyopia can be corrected by scleral lenses.