Nowadays, various types of contact lenses can be prescribed for patients with keratoconus. However, we are avid fans of scleral lenses!
What are scleral lenses?
These hard-to-fit contacts are rigid gas permeable lenses that have an extra-large diameter. They vault completely over your cornea, coming to rest on the whites of your eye (called the sclera). Scleral lenses thereby cover the irregular corneal surface with a rounded optical surface, helping you to achieve clear vision – even if you have keratoconus.
As the shape of scleral lenses creates a bridge over the eye, it leaves a gap that fills with tears. This pocket of tears enhances comfortable vision for people with dry eyes, which makes scleral lenses a great option for people with severe dry eye syndrome.
How safe are scleral lenses?
Although this may be the first time you have heard of scleral lenses, they aren’t a new invention. In fact, they are the oldest type of contact lenses, invented in the early 16th century by Leonardo da Vinci. However, the first prototypes that were manufactured in Europe were not very permeable to oxygen. As a result, they caused many negative side effects, such as corneal swelling.
Nowadays, modern scleral lenses are designed and crafted with precise technology, new materials and computer-driven lathes. This leads to a higher level of safety and comfort. Contemporary sclerals have a high oxygen permeability, which reduces the risk of eye complications. Patients with keratoconus can have crystal-clear vision along with protection of the sensitive corneal surface.
What happens during a fitting for scleral lenses?
The eye doctor will map your cornea using advanced corneal topography equipment. This generates a detailed diagram of your cornea, which is used to make customized scleral contact lenses. We equip our office with the newest technologies in order to ensure an efficient eye care experience and lenses that fit you perfectly.
Is it difficult to insert and care for scleral lenses?
At the very beginning, it can be tricky to insert scleral contacts. Yet, our optometrists provide complete instruction and training. After a short practice period of inserting and removing your lenses, you’ll have no trouble at all! Scleral lenses are very durable and easy to handle.
You must care for scleral lenses in the same way as standard contacts. Right after you remove them, clean and store them with the recommended disinfectant.
When are scleral lenses an effective option?
Typically, our eye care professionals prescribe scleral lenses typically for patients with keratoconus, corneal dystrophies and degenerations, and in the case of corneal scarring. In addition, they are helpful for people with extreme dry eye syndrome, chronic inflammatory conditions, Sjorgen’s disease and other specific conditions. Many of our patients who try scleral lenses report that they are pleased to finally enjoy sharp and comfortable vision!
Scleral lenses can also be the ideal treatment for people with a vision prescription that exceeds the standard parameters of soft contacts.
Contact our optometrists to schedule a consultation at our optometry practice. We offer expert fittings for scleral lenses and a premium selection of these specialty contacts for hard-to-fit vision conditions.
Unique Advantages of Scleral Lenses
1. Ultimate wearing comfort
Scleral lenses create a pocket under the contact lens that fills with tears and lubricates your eyes. (For this reason, scleral lenses are often a great option for people who suffer from dry eyes.) Not only does this cushion of moisture lead to a comfortable wearing experience, but it also promotes healthy eyes throughout the whole day.
Because scleral lenses do not make contact with your corneal surface, you also benefit from a decreased risk of corneal abrasions.
2. Stable vision
Regular contact lenses generally have a 9mm diameter, and scleral lenses range from 14 – 20 mm. Even if you have advanced keratoconus and an extremely irregular corneal surface, the larger size ensures that scleral lenses remain stable and centered. As a result, you’ll have more consistent, crisper vision.
The large diameter also makes it almost impossible for scleral lenses to dislodge during normal wear, even for people with keratoconus and an active California lifestyle. We hear great reviews about scleral lenses from our physically active Lombard patients!
3. Made to last
Scleral lenses, which are rigid gas permeable contact lenses, are typically long-lasting, as they are constructed from durable, quality materials. Therefore, while the initial cost of fitting scleral lenses may be higher than regular contact lenses, you’ll receive maximum value from these specialty lenses!
4. User friendly
Some people find conventional lenses difficult to handle, especially if they have poor vision or problems with manual dexterity. Scleral lenses are much larger than regular contact lenses, which can make insertion and removal easier – and it reduces the risk of you accidentally causing damage to your cornea. In general, your chances of complications from scleral lenses are significantly less.
5. More visual coverage
Due to their size and extra-wide optic zones, scleral lenses enable precise peripheral vision, and they reduce your sensitivity to glare and light. They are suitable for a broad range of vision prescriptions, including astigmatism, as long as they are fit by a qualified and experienced eye doctor.
For best results, you need a knowledgeable and experienced eye care professional to fit you with scleral lenses and provide follow-up eye exams. Fortunately, our eye doctor is a pro! He will will examine your eyes and measure your cornea to fit your scleral lenses precisely in our office.
Scleral lenses must be customized to meet the unique corneal irregularities of every keratoconus patient, and we’ll provide you with the personalized service and attention you need. We welcome everyone from Lombard and all nearby communities to schedule a consultation today!