Are Your Contact Lenses Uncomfortable? Have you been told you can’t wear contacts?
75% of adults over the age of 20 wear or have worn contact lenses for vision correction. For most of those wearers, traditional soft lenses will provide clear vision for those with nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), or astigmatism. In some cases, however, particularly for patients with corneal irregularities (differently shaped eye surfaces), Dry Eye Syndrome or astigmatism, Scleral Lenses may be a better solution. Bluebird Family Eye Care is a leader in scleral lens fittings for patients in Eastern Idaho.
What are Scleral Lenses?
Our doctors prescribe scleral lenses to help patients with sensitive eyes or corneal irregularities achieve dramatic improvements in visual acuity and comfort. Scleral lenses span over the cornea and rest on the sclera (whites) instead. This creates a new optical surface and prevents discomfort by minimizing irritation to the cornea. There is also a pool of pure saline solution between the back surface of the scleral lens and the front of the cornea that ensures the eye is always in a liquid environment making it optimal for health and comfort.
The doctors at Bluebird Family Eye Care recommend scleral lenses for those hard-to-fit eyes, for patients with keratoconus, and for people with a medium-high astigmatism that other contacts can’t comfortably correct. Scleral lenses are also perfect for anyone wanting to wear comfortable lenses while keeping eyes hydrated all day.
What are the Benefits of Wearing Scleral Lenses?
Scleral lenses provide the very best level of comfort, visual acuity, and lens stability on the eye.
You’ll experience consistently clear vision wearing your new scleral lenses. Their large diameter ensures that they stay centered, secure and stable on your eye. Their size also prevents sclerals from popping out easily, even if you play sports or lead a very active lifestyle.
Constructed from high quality, durable materials, these lenses typically last for a long time. So, while the initial cost of scleral lenses may be higher than standard contacts, you’ll benefit from the maximum value for your money.
Safe and Easy-to-Use
The large size and rigid material make scleral lenses much easier to insert and remove from your eyes. These features also reduce the risk of accidentally injuring your cornea while you handle your lenses.
Comfort for Dry Eyes
While the scleral lenses vault over your cornea, they contain a pocket filled with moisturizing tears. This wet, lubricating cushion offers a very comfortable wearing experience, as well as healthier eyes. In addition, because sclerals don’t touch your corneal surface, rubbing is minimized and your risk of corneal abrasions is drastically diminished.
Wide Visual Field
The wide optic zone provides wearers with a wider, more precise peripheral vision. They also reduce sensitivity to glare and light.
Scleral lenses are custom-fit to each eye. Though the fees for fitting sclerals and the cost of the lenses are higher than standard lenses, their life span and benefits make the cost worthwhile.
What to ask your Bluebird Family Eye Doctor about Scleral Lenses?
If you have been unable to wear traditional contact lenses, or have been told they are not right for you, ask one of our doctors about scleral lenses. Here are some questions you might ask, and what you might expect to hear:
How do scleral lenses work? Most contacts sit on the corneal surface. Scleral lenses are larger and wider, resting instead on the sclera (the white of the eye). The lens vaults over the cornea, with a fluid-filled chamber between the lens and the surface of the eye. This design helps hydrate the eye and compensates for irregularities in the shape of the corneal surface.
What types of eye conditions do optometrists typically use scleral lenses to treat? At Bluebird Family Eye Care, we treat Dry Eye Syndrome, Chemical and burn injuries, Keratoconus and ectasia, Corneal degenerations and dystrophies, Eyelid abnormalities, Radial Keratotomy (RK), Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, Graft v. Host Disease, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Corneal ectasia (and other complications from LASIK), and many more with scleral lenses. Scleral lenses are also an ideal option for many patients that have undergone corneal transplant surgery. The scleral lens is used widely in the repair and healing of many eye injuries.
Am I a good candidate for scleral lenses? If you are working through any of the eye conditions mentioned above, then our optometrists will likely recommend scleral lenses. If you are curious to learn whether you are a good candidate for this type of lens, ask one of our eye doctors
Are scleral lenses comfortable? Initially, there may be a sense of awareness with scleral lenses or “knowing that the lens is there”. It can take a little time to acclimate to this feeling, especially if you have never worn a contact lens before. In the long run, most patients report that scleral lenses are more comfortable than other types of lenses, to the point where they are hardly noticeable. The design of scleral lenses helps reduce corneal irritation and keeps the eye hydrated and healthy, they are also custom-designed to fit the unique shape of your eye, so they are made specifically to fit you.
Can I wear my scleral lenses overnight? While some specialty contact lenses, like ortho-k, are suitable to wear overnight, scleral lenses are not. Plan to remove them before going to bed each night.
What is the process for fitting scleral lenses? Every scleral lens needs to be specifically designed to fit each patient’s eye. This custom fitting process ensures that the lens gently lands on each part of the eye and vaults over the cornea safely and effectively. Expect a few visits to your local Bluebird Family Eye Care office to get the fit just right for your eyes.
How do I care for my scleral lenses? As with any other contact lenses, scleral lenses need to be cleaned regularly and stored properly to ensure longevity and eye hygiene. Ask your eye doctor for specific lens care recommendations to ensure safe lens wear and increase longevity of the lenses.
How long will my scleral lenses last? This can vary depending on how vigilant you are about your lens care regimen. In most cases, scleral lenses usually last between one and three years.