Have you been told that contact lenses will not work for you?
If you are looking to wear contact lenses but have always had problems with comfort or have been told you’ll never be able to wear contact lenses because of an irregularly shaped cornea or other eye problem, it may be time to look into a type of contact lens known as a “scleral lens.”
Scleral lenses make it possible for many people to wear contacts for the first time and they have many advantages for normal contact lens wearers as well.
A scleral lens is a larger lens that rests on the sclera or white of the eye, rather than the colored portion (or iris). The lens, which covers a larger area creates a pocket filled with artificial tears, fitting securely around the eye. Due to their size scleral lenses provide sharper vision, greater durability, easier handling and a lower risk for complications. Scleral lenses are a replacement for the irregular surface of the cornea with a perfectly formed optical surface, to ensure a perfectly clear vision that wouldn’t be possible from eyeglasses or any other type of vision solution. This extra area also allows the lens to be a liquid reservoir to provide extra comfort for those who otherwise may have comfort issues with regular contact lenses.
Scleral lenses might be right for you if:
- You have an irregularly shaped cornea due to kerataconus, eye surgery or other conditions.
- If lenses tend to move or dislodge frequently in your eye due to an irregular shaped eye.
- If you have dry eyes if you have pain or light senditivity from an eye injury or post-LASIK complications.
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Scleral lenses are always custom made to fit the unique contours of your eye, so fitting of this type of specialty lens requires a specific expertise and a greater amount of time fitting than with standard gas permeable and soft contact lenses. In many cases, a digital map of your cornea will be created, displaying for your optometrist an image referred to as your “corneal topography.” This will help your eye doctor more easily find the right fit for you, and reduce the number of trial pairs and the amount of time spent in fitting.
Because of the increased amount of time that is required to obtain a corneal topography and customize a scleral lens that works best and is most comfortable for your eyes, as well as the larger material cost to produce, scleral lenses can be significantly more expensive than traditional gas permeable and soft contact lenses. Despite this, scleral lenses still remain the most comfortable and, in many cases, only way, to obtain comfortable, accurate vision for those suffering from severe dry eye, keratoconus and other similar eye conditions.