Scleral Lenses Demand Is on the Rise. Are They Worth the Cost?
While scleral lenses are sometimes considered a new innovation in the world of optometry, they are the oldest variety of contact lenses in the world. The first scleral contact lenses emerged in the 1880s, made from blown glass. Today’s lenses are made with rigid gas permeable materials that offers comfort and optical quality and help resolve vision problems that are difficult to treat with other lenses.
The glass lenses of the 1800s fell out of use due to concerns over corneal health, but today’s lenses cause no such problems. They are wider in diameter than standard contact lenses with edges that gently sit on the white of the eye (or sclera). The lens is rigid and gas permeable with a shape that enables it to “vault” over the corneal surface, leaving a chamber of fluid between the lens and the surface of the eye. This design means that the lens doesn’t have to sit directly on the cornea, which makes these lenses an attractive option for many patients.
If you are wondering whether scleral lenses are right for you, or whether they are worth the cost of the investment, the best thing to do is to consult your eye care professional. No one type of contact lens is right for everyone, and your specific needs or vision problems might render you a perfect candidate for scleral lenses.
There are several specific vision conditions that scleral lenses can treat effectively. These conditions include dry eyes syndrome, chemical or burn injuries to the ocular surface, keratoconus, and Sjogren’s syndrome. Check our page about scleral lenses for a non-exhaustive list of conditions that we treat with scleral lenses. If you struggle with one of these conditions and haven’t tried scleral lenses yet, now might be the perfect time to consult with your optometrist.
Scleral lenses can also be effective at addressing some of the common problems with standard contact lenses. One example is discomfort. Some patients experience significant irritation while wearing contact lenses and dislike the sensation of a lens sitting on their cornea. By preventing direct lens-to-cornea contact and because they are custom-made to fit the unique shape of the eye, scleral lenses provide a more comfortable wearing experience.
Another example is corneal shape. Some patients have irregularly-shaped corneas, which can affect their vision but also make it difficult for them to fit standard contact lenses. By eliminating the need for the lens to rest on the corneal surface, scleral lenses enable vision correction without the same challenges in lens fitting.
At Miami Contact Lens Institute, we understand and believe in the benefits of scleral lenses. Over the years, we have found that the unique design of scleral lenses makes them a promising option for patients who have tried and failed to get results with other types of lenses.
If you have been reading about scleral lenses and are wondering if they might be a suitable option for you, contact us today to set up an appointment. We can provide an eye exam, learn about your vision history, and advise you on whether scleral lenses are the right investment for your future vision, comfort, and quality of life.