If you have dry eye syndrome, a corneal transplant, keratoconus or who simply find conventional contacts uncomfortable to wear, you may want to try scleral contact lenses. Scleral lenses are larger than standard lenses and vault over the entire surface of the cornea. Because the lens sits firmly on the eye, it offers more comfortable and stable vision than traditional lenses.
Eye Problems That Can Make Contact Lens Wearing Difficult
If your cornea is irregularly sized or shaped, standard contact lenses may not fit you properly or may move when you blink. Furthermore, standard contacts can also cause or exacerbate dry eye symptoms, such as red, irritated, itchy or dry eyes.
Below are common eye conditions that can make contact lens wearing a struggle:
- Dry eye syndrome
- Corneal transplant
- Post-refractive surgery (i.e. LASIK)
Why are Scleral Lenses a Comfortable Alternative?
These oversized lenses provide relief, clear vision, and visual rehabilitation for dry eye, keratoconus, corneal degeneration, eyelid abnormalities, and corneal ectasia, among other conditions. That's because the custom-designed scleral lenses are fitted to your unique eye shape, providing a superior level of comfort.
Moreover, a fluid reservoir between the lens and the cornea optically neutralizes any corneal irregularities and hydrates the ocular surface, providing a moist and comfortable environment between the eye and the lens.
How Large are Scleral Lenses?
The average size of regular contact lenses is 9mm, which is smaller than the cornea, whereas scleral lenses measure between 14.5mm to 24mm in diameter. This allows the scleral lens to form a dome over the cornea, creating a cushion of tears between the lens and the eye.
What Happens During a Scleral Lens Fitting?
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, your Northwestern Eye Associates Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center eye doctor in Mt. Dennis 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.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Heather Shear O.D. and talk to us about getting fitted with scleral lenses.
Our practice serves patients from Mt. Dennis, Toronto, York, and Rockcliffe Smythe, ON and surrounding communities.
- A: While scleral lenses aren’t a cure for keratoconus, they are highly effective at correcting vision if you have irregular-shaped corneas or cone-shaped corneas.Because those with keratoconus have irregular, cone-shaped corneas, glasses and standard contact lenses cannot conform to the shape of the eyes and thus cannot adequately correct the patients’ vision. The best solution, therefore, is scleral contact lenses, since they sit on the sclera without touching the cornea and deliver maximal clarity while being perfectly comfortable in most cases.
- A: Though corneal transplants have a high rate of success, it can take more than a year for the eye to recover from surgery. This is because the eye needs time to adapt to the new cornea, during which time nearsightedness or astigmatism may develop. For this reason, scleral lenses are the ideal choice for clear and comfortable vision following a corneal graft.