How Can Scleral Lenses Help Dry Eyes?
If you have dry eye syndrome, you are all too familiar with the itchy, irritated, uncomfortable, and even painful sensations that come with this condition. Eye drops and artificial tears offer some relief, but this relief is temporary. Most patients with dry eyes can benefit from a longer-lasting treatment method.
What are scleral lenses?
Scleral lenses are a great solution because of their unique features, such as a larger size and custom fit. Although scleral lenses are also used to treat refractive errors and corneal irregularities, they can also provide significant relief for dry eye syndrome and other ocular surface disease.
These lenses offer relief from symptoms as well as vision correction to patients with both dry eye syndrome and irregularities of the cornea. They work by resting on the sclera, forming a vault or pocket over the cornea that traps liquid. This liquid reservoir provides a continually moist environment that protects and hydrates the eye and relieves the discomfort associated with dry eyes. As they continue to be worn, they promote the healing and restoration of the ocular surface. They’re also custom-fitted and oxygen permeable, which makes them healthy for the eye and comfortable for the wearer.
How do scleral lenses work to relieve dry eyes?
Scleral lenses work in several different ways to help treat dry eyes.
- Lenses you can wear with dry eyes. Many people with dry eyes cannot wear traditional soft contact lenses. Because they sit directly on the cornea, they can cause irritation in patients with dry eyes. These lenses also tend to absorb moisture from the surface of the eye, exacerbating the problem. Scleral lenses are designed to avoid the sensitive cornea and help retain moisture on the surface of the eye.
- Continuous hydration for the eye. When you wear scleral lenses, the area between the scleral lens and the surface of the cornea is filled with saline solution. The scleral lens holds this constant source of moisture in place and provides lasting relief.
- Protects and soothes the cornea. Dry eyes can lead to sensitive corneas that are particularly vulnerable to injury. Even blinking can irritate or even damage the cornea because of the friction of the eyelid on the cornea. Scleral lenses can help prevent injuries by protecting the eye from the friction that blinking causes and keep out dust and other external irritants.
Other questions to ask about dry eyes
If you have dry eye syndrome, learning as much as you can about the condition can help you make informed decisions about your treatment options and lifestyle choices. A few questions you may want to ask your eye doctor include:
- What factors could be causing or exacerbating my symptoms?
- Could there be a medication side effect or a medical condition causing my symptoms?
- What complications are possible if I leave the condition untreated?
- Should I use over-the-counter eye drops? Which ones and how often?
- What lifestyle changes may be helpful (smoking cessation, dietary changes)?
At Miami Contact Lens Institute, our doctors dedicate their efforts to providing the best possible medical treatment to people with a wide range of eye conditions. If you are experiencing the itchiness or irritation of dry eyes or any other vision-related problems, get in touch to book an appointment.