6 Benefits of Scleral Lenses for Sjogren’s Syndrome
Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease, which means that it causes your immune system to attack your own body. Many different autoimmune diseases cause a range of symptoms. If you have Sjogren’s syndrome, your immune system attacks the glands that usually produce saliva and tears. Therefore, your symptoms most likely include a dry mouth and dry eyes. In addition to these, you may also have dryness in other places, such as your skin, nose, and throat. Treatment for Sjogren’s syndrome focuses on relieving symptoms, something that scleral contact lenses can help tremendously. Scleral lenses are special custom-fitted contact lenses to the individual that can help in a variety of ways.
Scleral lenses do not rest on the surface of the eye
If your eyes are dry, they are likely to feel irritated or itchy. Traditional contact lenses sit directly against the cornea, potentially causing further irritation, especially when they dry out. Scleral lenses, on the other hand, are larger in diameter. They make contact with the white part of the eye (the sclera) and form a dome over the cornea. This dome leaves space for fluid (both tears and contact lens solution), thereby protecting and hydrating sensitive eyes.
Scleral lenses are custom-designed
Scleral contact lenses are entirely custom-designed to conform to the scleral shape and leave a uniform clearance over the cornea. When regular contact lenses are uncomfortable or inadequate to correct vision problems, scleral lenses may be the solution. Custom-designed lenses can often provide sharper and more stable vision as well as superior comfort throughout the day. People with Sjogren’s syndrome are often good candidates for scleral lenses because a custom-fit is essential for comfort, visual acuity, and moisture to the eye.
Scleral lenses help keep the eyes consistently lubricated
One of the most important reasons that scleral lenses are often recommended for people with Sjogren’s syndrome is to help keep the eye adequately lubricated. The dome shape forms a vault over the cornea, and this vault is filled with unique preservative-free saline solution before application. This solution stays in contact with the eye hour after hour, significantly relieving dry eye symptoms as well as protecting the ocular surface both from the mechanical friction of the eyelids and outside pathogens.
Scleral lenses help protect the cornea
Sjogren’s syndrome can cause the cornea to be extremely sensitive and more susceptible to injury. Dust, debris, fumes, and even blinking can further irritate dry eyes. Scleral lenses help in two ways: first, by leaving space between the lens and the cornea so that the lens itself doesn’t cause irritation, and second, by forming a shield over the eye that protects it from the outside environment.
Scleral lenses can correct vision problems
People with Sjogren’s syndrome are more likely to experience vision problems than others. Dry eyes tend to be more sensitive to light, more vulnerable to corneal injury, and more likely to have trouble with blurry vision due to the instability of the tear film. The vault of these lenses over the cornea forms a new ocular surface that allows for clear and stable vision when fitted with the proper prescription. Moreover, the reservoir of liquid against the eye further assists with clear vision. Have you ever noticed how, when your eyes water, your vision can seem temporarily clearer? That’s because dry eyes don’t function as well, so keeping them lubricated is helpful.
Related resources: 6 Causes of Early Vision Loss for Women
Scleral lenses are cost-effective
While scleral lenses may cost more upfront, they can indeed be relatively cost-effective over time. The fees for fitting and the cost of the lens itself can seem like more of an investment than regular contact lenses. However, when you consider the longer lifespan and the considerable benefits of scleral lenses, it’s easy to see how the cost is worthwhile. If you have questions about the cost of scleral lenses or whether they may be right for you, contact us here.
Visit The Miami Contact Lens Institute to learn more about possible eye issues and how to avoid them!
Related resources: Ten Questions to Ask Your Optometrist about Scleral Lenses