What is a scleral lens?
Scleral lens are large diameter contact lenses specially designed to vault over the entire corneal surface and rest on the “white” area of the eye (sclera). Patients who need visual correction but are unable to wear other contact lenses may find scleral lenses more comfortable than other lens designs.
Who is a candidate?
Patients who have a refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia) and are not able to wear other types of lenses, patients with conditions that affect the tear film, and patients with irregular corneas may benefits from scleral lenses.
Keratoconus is one of the conditions that cause irregularity of the cornea. Surgeries, such as refractive surgery, LASIK, can also lead to corneal irregularity. The cornea must be smooth in order to correct your vision with glasses or soft contact lenses.
Some patients have disorders, such as dry eyes, that affect the quality or quantity of tears that help to keep the eye’s surface smooth and healthy. Some inflammatory conditions also cause serious damage to the front surface of the eye. Patients who cannot close their lids completely may also experience problems with the health of the surface of the eye. The fluid reservoir beneath a scleral lens may improve comfort, and may allow the corneal surface to heal.
What are the advantages?
Large diameter lenses, such as scleral lenses, may be more comfortable than lenses that rest on the cornea. The cornea is one of the most highly sensitive tissues in the body. The conjunctiva (the tissue that lies over the sclera) is much less sensitive. Scleral lenses rest primarily or exclusively on the conjunctiva and therefore considered extremely more comfortable.