Am I a Good Candidate for Scleral Contact Lenses? Here’s How to Find Out
In recent years, the use of scleral lenses has become an increasingly common strategy to treat a variety of ocular disorders or vision problems. Scleral contact lenses are special designed contact lenses that sit on the sclera (the white of the eye) and vault over the cornea. They do not sit on the cornea. Instead, these lenses leave a chamber of tears and saline between the lens and the cornea itself. This design eliminates the need to fit the lens to match the shape of the cornea, which is extremely useful for any patient with corneal irregularities. As a result, scleral lenses are effective at masking the effects of corneal irregularities and delivering effective vision correction for patients suffering from such defects.
If you are wondering whether you would be a good candidate for scleral lenses, your best bet is to ask your eye doctor. At Miami Contact Lens Institute, we are specialists in designing scleral contact lenses and other specialty contact lenses. We can certainly provide you with advice on which type of lens would be best for you. However, in case you want to know a bit more before you schedule a consultation, here are a few details about the types of patients that typically benefit from scleral lenses.
Scleral Contact Lenses: Who Are They Meant For?
Any patient who has had difficulty achieving adequate vision with glasses or conventional contact lenses may be a good candidate for scleral lenses. It’s a common misconception that scleral lenses are only intended for patients with irregularly shaped corneas. While it’s true that scleral lenses were a specialty treatment for many years, their usage has broadened in recent years to include an array of conditions—some of which aren’t related to corneal irregularities at all.
Some of the conditions that can be treated or partially treated using scleral lenses include:
- Keratoconus (a condition where the corneal tissue bulges outward)
- Complications following corneal transplants, including graft vs host disease
- Dry eye treatment
- Chemical burn injuries
- Eyelid abnormalities
- Corneal degeneration
- Recovery from Radial Keratotomy (RK) (surgery of the cornea meant to correct myopia)
- Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (a rare condition that damages skin tissue and mucous membranes)
- Complications caused by LASIK surgery
- Sjogren’s Syndrome (an immune disorder whose most common symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth)
- Corneal ectasia (a condition that causes thinning of corneal tissue)
- High astigmatism
If you have any of these conditions or believe that you may have one of these conditions, you should consult your physician and your eye doctor near you to learn more about scleral lenses and whether they might be a good option for you.
While the eye condition(s) a patient has are typically the biggest factors to consider when diagnosing scleral lenses, there can be other complicating factors. The biggest of these factors is the size of the lenses themselves. In the vast majority of situations, an eye doctor should be able to fit a patient for scleral lenses. However, since scleral lenses are considerably larger than conventional contact lenses, they require more space in the eye. A patient, therefore, must have a certain amount of opening between his or her eyelids to be able to insert scleral lenses. Most scleral lenses are between 14mm and 20mm in diameter. Most patients have enough space between their eyelids to accommodate a lens of this size, but it’s always worth asking your Optometrist.
At Miami Contact Lens Institute, we would be happy to tell you more about scleral lenses, as well as provide a professional opinion on whether you are a good candidate for them. To schedule your appointment, contact us today.