How Scleral Lenses Help with Dry Eyes?
Anyone who’s worn contact lenses and suffers from dry eye can tell you that contact lenses, though often convenient, can also be decidedly uncomfortable at times. While there are different disposable contact lenses for varying levels of comfort and prescription needs, people who suffer from dry eyes may mistakenly believe that it’s better to go without contact lenses altogether.
Disposable contact lenses are made from soft materials. They’ll eventually dry up when exposed to the air outside their container. Whether soft contact lenses are meant to be worn for only a day or an entire month, they must remain moist.
What is a person with dry eyes who wants to wear contacts to do, then? They might try scleral contact lenses.
How Scleral Lenses are Different from Other Contacts
Scleral contacts are a much different type of lens than disposable lenses. They are made from a hard, permeable material, called rigid-gas permeable material (RGP). This material allows the user to wear these lenses repeatedly, as long as the lenses are cared for properly
Scleral contacts are different from other RGPs because they do not just cover the cornea – the transparent front surface – of the eye. They sit on the sclera or the white of your eyes.
Because scleral lenses are so much larger than other contact lenses, they provide contact across a much larger surface of the eye. Because they vault over the cornea and do not come into contact with it, there is a reservoir of tears and saline solution that remains on the surface of your eye without the lenses drying out.
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Scleral Contact Lens Solution Can Help with Dry Eyes
It’s true that while contact lens solutions can help clean and store your soft lenses when you’re not wearing them, there’s a reason most solution instructions indicate not letting the solution get directly into your eyes.
Contact lens solutions are made disinfect your contact lenses, they are not made to be applied directly to the eye. Though you can place a contact lens directly in your eye after removing it from the case, the solvents and preservatives sometimes exacerbate a dry eye issue.
Often scleral lenses are cleaned with a hydrogen peroxide solution overnight or for at least six hours so the solution has adequate time to work and neutralize.
Saline is commonly used in medical practices because it is very similar to the water composition in our bodies. Saline solutions are the most common IVs found in hospitals and are used for various purposes, including moisture replenishment. This same type of solution is put inside the scleral lens before it is place on the eye.
So, are scleral lenses the solution to dry eyes?
When placed in the eye, clean scleral lenses hold a hydrating saline solution across a wide surface of the eye, providing comfort and relief from dryness. Because scleral lenses cover a wide surface area, they retain moisture while protecting your eyes from other irritants, allergens and friction from the eyelids.
Scleral contact lenses are custom fit to your eyes for maximum comfort and hydration for as long as you wear them. If you would like to learn more about how scleral lenses can help with dry eyes, we encourage you to get in touch with our team and schedule an appointment!