Specially-designed contact lenses allow a wide range of individuals to have clear and comfortable vision, even if they were previously unsuccessful in contact lenses. The newest specialty lenses are called scleral lenses; these lenses have quickly become a popular development among eye care professionals due to their unique design and ability to provide comfortable vision in many difficult cases. Scleral contact lenses are useful for treating the symptoms of dry eye disease, as well as providing visual correction for those with irregular corneas or high amounts of refractive error. Scleral lenses are large-diameter gas permeable lenses that are designed to vault over the entire cornea and rest comfortably on the white portion of the eye. The curved bowl of contact lens is filled with a fluid that acts as a constant tear reservoir throughout the day. Their design allows these lenses to offer advantages such stable vision and improved comfort, and make them a great option for those who have struggled with contact lenses in the past. Read on to learn more about the benefits of scleral lenses and whether you are a good candidate for these specialty lenses.
Dry Eyes and Scleral Contact Lenses
It’s known that traditional contact lenses can increase the severity of dry eye symptoms. We’ve discussed that there are many options to address dryness in contact lens wearers, and scleral lenses are a viable and oftentimes successful option. Before inserting scleral lenses, a preservative-free saline solution is used to fill the well of the lens. Throughout the day, this solution remains between the lens and the cornea, providing constant nourishment and hydration to the front surface of the eye. By providing a stable tear film, the liquid reservoir of scleral lenses not only drastically improves symptoms of dry eye disease, but can also improve vision by eliminating visual fluctuation associated with unstable tears.
From Irregular Corneas to High Myopes
Scleral lenses are used for much more than treating dry eyes. Because of the size and design of these specialty lenses, they are frequently used in providing visual correction for irregular corneas. For example, in a condition known as keratoconus, where a portion of the cornea begins to bulge out, scleral lenses are used to regulate the front refractive surface of the eye, and typically provide clearer vision than soft contact lenses or glasses. These lenses are also useful for those who have high amounts of nearsightedness, as they eliminate distortions and object minification associated with thick, heavy spectacle lenses.
Good Things Take Time
Being specialty contact lenses means that scleral lenses may take more time and consideration in the fitting and evaluation process. Because these lenses are made-to-order with specific measurement and prescription parameters, they may require more follow-ups and adjustments with your optometrist than typical contact lenses. However, the crisp vision and unparalleled comfort make the fitting process well worth the time, and you can rest easy knowing your scleral lenses are designed with your exact needs in mind.