What is a scleral lens? Scleral lenses are specialty contact lenses designed for patients who have specific problems with the eye’s surface. They can help with people suffering from dry eyes, keratoconus, or previous scarring of the eye from injury or eye disease. If you're interested in trying scleral lenses, talk to our optometrist at Vision Solutions in San Diego, CA, about them. You may be surprised at how much they can improve your quality of life.
What Are Scleral Lenses?
Scleral lenses are a type of specialty contact lens made of out of a rigid gas permeable material. They are large in diameter, like a traditional soft lens, but only rest on the sclera (the white surface of the eye). They vault over the entire cornea, the window of the eye, without touching it. A scleral lens is more rigid and will flex a small amount but will not bend like a soft contact lens. This design protects the cornea from the drying effects of the wind and air, which can reduce symptoms of dry eye. It also vaults over the cornea to provide a smooth, regular shape to the surface of the eye if it is irregular to improve the eye’s ability to see clearly. Scleral lenses are filled with a sterile saline solution and inserted into the eye creating a lake of tears and saline that bathes the eye all day and helps with dryness.
Conditions Treated Using Scleral Lenses
Scleral lenses have several potential uses. These conditions can include diseases like:
The term "keratoconus" describes a condition in which the cornea thins, usually inferiorly, and takes on a cone-like, protruded form. This malformation can cause light to scatter as it enters the eye, resulting in blurred or distorted vision.
Dry eye is a condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tears, or the tears are of poor quality. This condition can lead to symptoms like redness, irritation, poor vision, and pain.
Irregular Corneal Shape
An irregular corneal shape can be caused by several factors, including previous eye surgery. A distorted corneal shape causes light to scatter as it enters the eye, resulting in blurred or distorted vision.
Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that can cause dryness in the eyes and mouth. This disease causes the body to attack healthy cells that produce saliva or tears. In addition, scleral lenses can protect the cornea, as well as keep the eye constantly lubricated.
Graft vs. Host Disease
Graft vs. host disease is a condition that can occur after a stem cell or bone marrow transplant. In graft vs. host disease, the immune cells in the transplanted tissue attack the patient's healthy tissue. This attack can cause several symptoms, including substantial dryness in the eyes.
How Do You Wear Scleral Lenses?
Scleral lenses are large contact lenses that cover the whole cornea. They can be a bit more complex than traditional contact lenses. When inserting a scleral lens, it's essential to fill the belly of the bowl with a special saline solution to create a moisture chamber underneath the lens to provide sharp vision and comfort. Once the lens is inserted, the saline will stay underneath the contact lens surface and bathe the eye all day to keep the eye lubricated.
Call Us to Schedule an Eye Exam with Our Eye Doctor
If you suffer from dry eyes or any other conditions mentioned above, scleral lenses may be right for you. To find out for sure, call us today at (619) 461-4913 to book an eye exam with our optometrist. At Vision Solutions in San Diego, CA, we will be happy to answer any questions and help you get the treatment you need.