Scleral Lenses

scleral lens

Contact lenses come in a variety of shapes and styles to suit the range of needs for individual patients. What this means is that there is almost certainly a type of contact lens that will both feel comfortable for you and improve your vision.

Some types of contact lenses are known as speciality lenses. This is because they are designed specifically to overcome some eye issues which may prevent a patient from wearing the most common and generic styles of contact lenses. In fact, speciality contact lenses have transformed the vision options of many patients who would otherwise have only had the choice between wearing glasses or undergoing laser vision correction. There are numerous types of speciality contact lens, including scleral lenses.

What are scleral lenses?

Scleral contact lenses get their name from the fact that, unlike regular contacts, they vault over the entire corneal surface and rest on the white part of the eye, which is called the sclera. This makes them larger than standard contacts, which in turn provides a variety of benefits. Their size makes them easier to handle and more stable when on the eye, which in turn provides the patient with sharper and more reliable vision. They are also less likely to become dislodged and come out.

Scleral contact lenses are also gas permeable, which means that oxygen can pass right through them and reach the surface of the eyes. This is important for comfort, particularly for patients who experience dry eyes. The gap that is created between the back of the contact lens and the front surface of the eye can also trap tear film, acting as a fluid reservoir which will keep the eyes moist and healthy.

Types of scleral lenses

Within scleral lenses there are several different sizes to choose between. These are based on where the lenses meet the surface of the eye and are as follows:

Full scleral lenses: the largest type, they provide the greatest amount of clearance between the cornea and lens and rest on the outer sclera.

Mini scleral lenses: the mid-size variety, make contact with the eye on the anterior sclera.

Semi-scleral lenses: although larger than conventional lenses, they are not huge, and the edge of the contact lens rests on the junction between the cornea and the sclera.

Your scleral lens provider will be able to make a recommendation as to the correct size for you, which will be based on your individual requirements.

Who are scleral lenses recommended for?

Scleral lenses are recommended for individuals with various corneal irregularities or conditions that make it challenging for traditional contact lenses to fit comfortably and provide adequate vision correction. These conditions include:

Keratoconus: A condition where the cornea thins and bulges into a cone shape, leading to distorted vision.

Corneal ectasia: Similar to keratoconus, this involves a thinning and bulging of the cornea, often due to prior eye surgeries like LASIK.

Corneal scarring: Scarring on the cornea from injury, infection, or previous eye surgeries can create irregularities that traditional lenses struggle to correct.

Post-corneal transplant: After a corneal transplant surgery, the cornea may have irregularities that scleral lenses can help address.

Severe astigmatism: Scleral lenses can often provide better vision correction for individuals with high levels of astigmatism compared to traditional contact lenses.

Irregular corneal shape: Conditions like pellucid marginal degeneration or corneal dystrophies may result in irregular corneal shapes that scleral lenses can accommodate better than other lenses.

Aniridia: A congenital condition characterized by a partial or complete absence of the iris, where scleral lenses can improve vision and comfort.

High refractive errors: Scleral lenses can be a viable option for individuals with high prescriptions who find traditional lenses uncomfortable or ineffective.

Individuals with these conditions must consult with Dr. Jackson since she's experienced in fitting specialty contact lenses to determine if scleral lenses are suitable for their specific needs.

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