Advantages of Scleral Lenses
Before discussing who the best candidates for scleral lenses are, it is important to understand what they are. Scleral lenses are a type of contact lens that are larger than traditional contact lenses and are designed to rest on the white part of the eye, known as the sclera. These lenses are made of a specialized oxygen-permeable material that allows oxygen to flow freely through the lens and into the eye to help maintain a healthy cornea. Scleral lenses are often used to treat a variety of eye conditions such as keratoconus, post-surgical corneas, severe dry eyes, and corneal irregularities due to trauma.
One of the best candidates for scleral lenses is someone who has keratoconus. Keratoconus is a condition where the cornea of the eye thins and bulges out, causing vision problems. Traditional contact lenses may not fit properly on the misshapen cornea, resulting in discomfort and poor vision. Scleral lenses can help address this issue by providing a more stable and comfortable fit. The larger size of scleral lenses means they vault over the cornea, allowing for a more even distribution of pressure on the eye and better vision correction.
Another group of patients who may benefit from scleral lenses are those who have undergone corneal surgery. Sometimes, corneal transplants, cataract surgery, or laser eye surgery can cause irregularities on the surface of the cornea, resulting in visual distortions and discomfort. Scleral lenses can help address these issues by providing a smooth, stable surface to rest on, which can improve vision. Additionally, because scleral lenses are larger than traditional contact lenses, they can help protect the cornea during the healing process.
Severe Dry Eyes
For individuals with severe dry eyes, scleral lenses can provide a level of comfort that traditional contact lenses cannot. Scleral lenses function as a type of “reservoir” for tears, holding them against the eye to help keep it lubricated throughout the day. The space between the scleral lens and the cornea allows for a continuous supply of tear fluid to remain in contact with the eyes, which can help reduce dryness and improve comfort. Patients with Sjogren’s syndrome, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and other autoimmune disorders that cause severe dry eyes may find significant relief with scleral lenses.
Corneal Irregularities Due to Trauma
Scleral lenses can also help individuals who have corneal irregularities due to trauma. Injuries to the eye can cause scarring or other irregularities on the surface of the cornea, which can lead to distorted or blurred vision. Scleral lenses can provide a smooth, stable surface for the eye to rest on, improving vision and reducing discomfort. Additionally, the larger size of scleral lenses can help protect the eye from further damage or irritation.
In conclusion, scleral lenses are an excellent option for individuals with a variety of eye conditions, including keratoconus, post-surgical corneas, severe dry eyes, and corneal irregularities due to trauma. If you are experiencing discomfort or visual distortions due to one of these conditions, speak with your eye doctor about whether scleral lenses may be right for you. With their larger size, specialized material, and personalized fit, scleral lenses can provide significant improvement in vision and quality of life for those who are the best candidates.