If you are aware and informed that you cannot wear contact lenses because of an irregular cornea or other problems like dry eyes, you may think to get a second opinion and ask your eye doctor about what is scleral contact lenses.
Scleral lenses are large-diameter gas permeable semi soft contact lenses specially designed to fit over the entire corneal surface and rest on the white part of the eye known as the sclera. These lenses fairly manage corneal irregularities like Keratoconus and ocular surface abnormalities which act as a fluid reservoir to provide comfort for people with severe dry eyes who otherwise could not tolerate contact lens wear. In doing so, scleral lenses functionally replace the irregular cornea with a perfectly smooth optical surface.
Scleral contact lenses are noticeably larger than standard gas permeable contacts with the smallest diameter available approximately 14.5 mm, and the largest can be up to 25 mm. The size of the lens used often is chosen on basis of the degree of complexity of the condition. (image comparison)
During your scleral contact lens fitting and exam, your eye care professional or scleral lens specialist will determine the best scleral lens type and size for your specific condition and needs.
Optometrists and ophthalmologists recommend scleral contact lenses for a variety of challenging eye conditions, one of the most common being keratoconus.
In cases of early keratoconus, a standard gas permeable lens can be an option. However, sometimes the lens does not center properly on the eye or moves excessively with blinks and causes discomfort, switching to a large-diameter scleral contact lens may solve the problem.
Because the design of scleral lenses is to vault the corneal surface and rest on the sclera, these lenses often are more comfortable for a person with keratoconus.
Scleral contact lenses are a good option for eyes that have undergone a cornea transplant, and for people with severe dry eyes that might need a large tear reservoir, often gets fitted with larger scleral lenses, as they have more capacity to hold fluid or bridge large changes in corneal curvature. Severe dry eyes caused by conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), and Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
Scleral lenses are custom-made to the exact specifications prescribed by your eye doctor when they perform all the tests and fitting, to provide the best possible vision, eye health, and comfort.
For these reasons, professional fees associated with fitting scleral lenses and lens replacement costs are higher for scleral lenses than other contact lenses and vary with different brands.