Scleral Lenses

You may be eligible for scleral contact lenses if you’ve had trouble wearing contacts in the past – or you’ve been told you’re not a suitable candidate for contacts.

Most contact lenses sit on top of the cornea (the clear outer layer of the eye) to correct refractive errors and make your vision clearer. Scleral lenses are rigid contact lenses that sit on the sclera (the white part of the eye) instead of the cornea. The space between the scleral lens and the cornea can hold fluid to heal damaged corneas and treat severe dry eye. There has been a significant evolution in contact lens technology over the past few decades. There is a specialty lens option available for nearly everyone today. The scleral contact lens is one of the most versatile types of specialty contacts.

Scleral lenses offer several benefits for various eye conditions. Here are some key advantages of scleral lenses:

  1. Vision Correction: Scleral lenses can correct a wide range of refractive errors, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and irregular corneas. They often achieve sharper and clearer vision than traditional contact lenses or glasses. This is especially important for those with irregular corneas due to conditions like keratoconus, post-surgical corneal irregularities, or corneal scarring.
  2. Comfort: The design of scleral lenses offers enhanced comfort compared to regular contact lenses. The lenses vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, reducing corneal irritation or discomfort. The liquid reservoir between the lens and the cornea also keeps the eyes hydrated, making them more comfortable. This is especially beneficial for individuals with dry eyes or sensitive eyes.
  3. Stability and Consistency: Due to their larger size and rigid gas-permeable material, scleral lenses offer better stability in the eye. They are less prone to shifting or rotating, which results in more consistent vision correction. This stability is particularly beneficial for individuals with irregular corneas, as it helps to create a smooth optical surface and reduce visual distortions.
  4. Protection: Scleral lenses provide a physical barrier to protect the cornea from external elements, such as dust, allergens, and wind. This can be especially advantageous for people with sensitive or compromised corneas, offering an extra layer of protection against potential irritants or environmental factors.
  5. Long Wear Time: Scleral lenses are designed to be worn for longer periods than regular contact lenses. The liquid reservoir beneath the lens provides continuous hydration and nourishment to the cornea, allowing for extended wear without discomfort. Some individuals may even be able to wear scleral lenses overnight, known as “overnight wear” or “extended wear,” as prescribed by their eye care professional.
  6. Customization: Scleral lenses are individually tailored to fit each person’s unique eye shape and prescription. This customization ensures a precise fit, maximizing comfort and visual acuity. The fitting process involves taking detailed measurements of the eye, including the shape and size of the sclera. This is done to create lenses specifically tailored to the individual’s needs.
  7. Corneal Rehabilitation: Scleral lenses can aid in cornea rehabilitation in certain cases, such as after corneal surgery or in managing corneal irregularities. By providing a protective and supportive environment for the cornea, scleral lenses can contribute to corneal healing and improve visual outcomes.

It’s critical to note that scleral lenses are custom-made to fit each individual’s eye shape and prescription. They require specialized fitting by an eye care professional experienced in fitting scleral lenses. If you are considering scleral lenses, it is best to consult with an optometrist or ophthalmologist who can evaluate your specific needs and determine if they are a suitable option for you.

Think you may be a candidate for scleral lenses? Contact our office and request an appointment at one of our locations. Call 516-785-3900 (Wantagh office) or 516-541-4141 for our Massapequa office to schedule an appointment today. 

Sources: National Eye Institute & American Academy of Ophthalmology