Author: Eric Johnson
Date: April 16, 2022

All You Need To Know About Scleral Contact Lenses

What are Scleral Contact Lenses? How is it different from regular contact lenses? In this blog, we will discuss about everything you need to know about scleral lenses and whether it's right for you.

Many people have already had bad experiences in the past with contact lenses. Some people think contact lenses aren't for them, whether it's because of a lack of stability, discomfort, or being told their eyes are "the wrong shape" for contact lenses.

But that's not necessarily true. Over the years, contact lens technology is evolving dramatically. Today, there is a specialty lens option available for everyone. The scleral lens is perhaps the most adaptable type of specialty contact.

What are Scleral Contact Lenses?

Scleral Lenses

Scleral contact lenses are large-diameter gas permeable contact lenses specially designed to vault over the cornea (the clear front of the eye) and rest over the sclera (the white of the eye). The scleral lens provides a smooth optical surface that works to correct vision problems caused by keratoconus and other irregular cornea problems.

Unlike conventional lenses that rest on the cornea, scleral lenses are fitted to leave space between the lens and the cornea. Scleral lenses are filled with isotonic fluid before they are fitted. The space between the cornea and the back surface of the lens serves as a tear reservoir to keep the eye moisturized. The moisture helps people with severe ocular diseases feel more comfortable, especially those suffering from dry eyes.

Types Of Scleral Contact Lenses

Scleral lenses are divided into three types based on their size. The sizes range from 14.5 to 24mm, more extensive than standard lenses, usually 9 – 9.5 in magnitude. The size of the scleral lens allows it to cover the entire cornea, extending to the sclera. As the average human cornea is 11.4mm, even the smallest scleral lens can cover the entire cornea.

Types of scleral lenses include:

  • Corneo-scleral and semi-scleral lenses are much larger than traditional GP lenses, resting near the corneal scleral junction.
  • Mini-scleral lenses vault over the whole corneal surface and rest on the anterior sclera.
  • Full scleral lenses are the largest and provide the most clearance between the back surface of the lens and the cornea.

The contact lens size usually depends on the complexity of the vision problem it corrects. Your optometrist will decide which kind of contact lens to use during your eye exam.

Benefits Of Scleral Contact Lenses 

Scleral lenses can provide benefits like:

  • A rigid design provides greater durability.
  • Extra stability during use due to their wider-than-normal diameter.
  •  It provides enhanced protection against debris, dust, and allergens due to the large size of the lens.
  • High breathability due to the gas-permeable silicone compounds used in their construction.
  • Better comfort due to the lubricating cushion of fluid formed between the lens and the eye.

Who is a Good Candidate for Scleral Lenses?

Anyone who wants the best vision possible with contact lenses may be a candidate for scleral lenses. But scleral GP lenses are beneficial for the following conditions:

Hard-to-fit eyes: When you cannot comfortably fit conventional GP lenses to your eyes or when the shape of your eye causes the lenses to dislodge too easily (such as during sports), scleral lenses may provide a more comfortable and secure fit.

Any of the following conditions can make wearing traditional contact lenses more challenging:

  • Keratoconus
  • Astigmatism
  • Dry Eyes
  • Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC)
  • Post-refractive surgery (i.e., LASIK, PRK)
  • Presbyopia

Dry Eyes: Scleral lenses can help if your eyes are too dry for conventional contact lenses. The generous space between the back surface of wide scleral lenses and the cornea, in particular, acts as a tear reservoir to keep the front of your eye moist and comfortable.

Cost of Scleral Lenses

Scleral lenses are custom-made to the exact specifications prescribed by your eye doctor to provide the best possible vision, eye health, and comfort.

So, the cost of scleral lenses will vary from patient to patient due to the individual nature of the lens. Your optometrist can provide you with information on the cost of the procedure and whether your insurance policy will cover some of the expenses.

A bad experience with contact lenses can certainly be off-putting. But contact lenses may still be an option for you, without sacrificing comfort or clarity. Book an appointment to see our optometrist and discuss how scleral lenses or the Ejones Opticals can help improve your vision.

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