What are Scleral Lenses?
Scleral contact lenses are rigid gas permeable lenses with an extra-wide diameter. As opposed to traditional contacts, scleral lenses vault over the entire cornea, leaving a gap between the lens and the corneal surface before coming to rest on the white part of your eye (your sclera).
Their unique design has taken scleral lenses to the top of the charts for ultimate wearing comfort, healthy eyes and excellent vision for people of all ages.
They are custom-fit to your eye and are perfect for those with hard-to-fit eyes, astigmatism, keratoconus, severe dry eye, or for those simply seeking more comfort when wearing contact lenses.
With scleral lenses, you’ll experience consistently clear vision—even if you have an irregular cornea. Here are some of the benefits provided by scleral lenses:
- Their super-size diameter ensures that they stay centered and stable on your eye, which also prevents them from popping out easily, even if you play sports or lead an active lifestyle.
- They are made up from high quality, durable materials to last for the long haul.
- The large size of the lens protects your eyes from debris, dust, and allergens, providing a perfect solution if you suffer from eye allergies.
- They are composed of highly breathable gas permeable material, which ensures that ample oxygen reaches the eye, leading to healthy eyes and comfortable lens wear.
- These lenses have a pocket that fills with moisturizing tears. This wet, lubricating cushion leads to a very comfortable wearing experience, as well as healthier eyes.
Ready to say goodbye to all those contact lenses that felt uncomfortable and didn’t give you sharp vision?
Who Wears Scleral Lenses?
Some wear them for increased comfort, while others choose sclerals because specific eye problems prevent them from wearing regular contact lenses or glasses.
Scleral lenses are extremely helpful in managing the following conditions:
Dry Eyes: For people with gritty, itchy and dry eyes, wearing traditional contact lenses are an added irritation. In contrast, the tear reservoir between the back of the scleral lens and the cornea, the front surface of the eye, allows your eyes to remain moist and comfortable all day long. This makes scleral lenses ideal for those with dry eye syndrome.
Hard-to-Fit Eyes: Those with irregularly shaped cornea, whether due to natural causes, an eye condition (i.e. keratoconus), or complications following surgery (such as LASIK), can at times develop vision problems that cannot be corrected using glasses or soft contact lenses. In such cases, scleral lenses provide a more comfortable, secure fit, and sharper vision.
Scleral lenses are particularly useful for managing these eye conditions:
- Dry Eyes
- Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC)
- Post-refractive surgery (i.e. LASIK, PRK)
Whatever your case, we welcome you to call our optometric team to discuss your needs and assess whether scleral lenses are a suitable and effective solution for your unique case.
What is keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a disease of the cornea where the tissues of the eye begin to thin and the shape of the cornea begins to change from more of a spherical, round shape to more of a pointy or cone shape. Most people first start to develop keratoconus in their early teen years, and it can be a progressive disease that gets worse through their mid to late twenties and beyond. It can cause a lot of discomfort and visual problems such as double or blurry vision, halos around lights, and poor night vision. At later stages of the disease, these and other symptoms can’t be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
Scleral lenses may still be able to help, however.
What makes scleral lenses superior for the treatment of keratoconus and similar conditions?
What makes scleral lenses superior to other types of contact lenses?
Because of their larger size, which allows them to rest on the sclera, scleral lenses offer superior comfort over smaller traditional contacts. This larger size also allows the lenses to vault over the cornea, acting as a kind of “prosthetic” that creates a more rounded surface over the warped cornea created by keratoconus and similar conditions. This makes for much sharper vision.
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How do Scleral Lenses Help with Dry Eye Syndrome?
Scleral lenses tackle three factors simultaneously: they provide vision correction, they protect the eye, and they serve a therapeutic purpose by lubricating the eye.
By filling the bowl of the lens with unpreserved saline solution prior to inserting it in the eye, you ensure that your eyes are always in a hydrated and comfortable environment. This provides relief from unpleasant dry eye symptoms such as pain, discomfort, eye redness, and itchiness while providing sharp, clear vision.
Why Do Scleral Lenses Offer Superior Comfort?
Scleral lenses are custom-fit to each person’s unique eye shape, corneal curves, and contours, providing unparalleled comfort. Their size and shape also ensure stability.
To design the lenses, our optometric team will take exact measurements of your cornea through a process called corneal topography. This process ensures that your personal pair of scleral lenses allows the right amount of light in and sits stably on the eye, thus offering superior vision, all-day ocular hydration, and increased comfort.
If other contact lenses haven't worked for you, don’t despair — you may be a candidate for scleral lenses. Talk to our optometric team to determine your best course of action.
Does Insurance Cover Scleral Lenses?
When it comes to scleral lenses, every insurance company is different. Some cover the eye exams and custom fitting, but not the actual lenses. Others may cover a portion of the cost or 100% of the cost, but only if other treatment methods have been exhausted. It’s important that you consult with your insurance provider to understand the particulars of your scleral lens coverage.
It is our strong belief that one’s quality of life is profoundly associated with one’s vision. Vision problems, whether due to keratoconus, LASIK, ocular trauma corneal irregularities, or dry eye syndrome, affect all aspects of a patient’s life.
Relieve your discomfort by scheduling a consultation with our optometric team and we’ll help you find the best solution for your condition and lifestyle.