Scleral Lenses for Children with Vision Impairment
When a child is facing a vision impairment, there are many options that they may have available to them when it comes to treatment. Although myopia is one of the most common vision issues that a child faces, there are several other ocular conditions that a child may be diagnosed with which scleral lenses can help to treat.
When Would a Child Need to Wear Scleral Lenses?
Scleral lenses are large-diameter contact lenses that cover the entire cornea and rest on the sclera (the white part of the eye). They are typically prescribed for individuals with certain eye conditions or vision problems that cannot be adequately corrected with traditional contact lenses or glasses. While scleral lenses can be used by people of all ages, including children, their usage depends on specific circumstances. Here are some situations where a child might need to wear scleral lenses:
- Irregular corneas: Children with irregularly shaped corneas, such as those with keratoconus (a condition where the cornea thins and bulges outward), may benefit from scleral lenses. These lenses provide a smooth optical surface, improving vision by neutralizing corneal irregularities.
- Dry eye syndrome: Children with severe dry eye syndrome or other ocular surface disorders might be prescribed scleral lenses. These lenses create a reservoir of fluid between the lens and the cornea, providing constant lubrication and hydration to the eyes.
- Corneal trauma or surgery: If a child has undergone corneal surgery or has experienced corneal trauma resulting in scarring or corneal irregularities, scleral lenses may be recommended to improve vision. They can also promote healing immediately post trauma. They protect the cornea, promote healing, and improve visual acuity.
- Eye conditions and diseases: Children with conditions such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome, corneal dystrophies, or ocular surface disorders may benefit from scleral lenses to improve their vision and ocular surface health.
Is It Safe for My Child to Wear Scleral Lenses?
Scleral lenses can be safe for children to wear when prescribed and designed by a qualified eye care practitioner. When you visit the MCLI team, you can take comfort in the fact that we will take great care in not only fitting your child with scleral lenses but also aid with the application and removal process. However, it’s essential to consider a few factors regarding the safety of scleral lenses for children:
- Professional guidance: The fitting and management of scleral lenses require expertise and ongoing care from an experienced eye care practitioner.
- Compliance and hygiene: Proper lens hygiene is crucial to prevent eye infections and other complications. It’s important to educate your child about the importance of hygiene practices, such as hand washing before handling the lenses, cleaning and disinfecting the lenses as instructed, and adhering to the recommended wearing schedule.
- Comfort and tolerance: Scleral lenses are large, rigid lenses and may require some adaptation time initially. Part of the fitting process includes modifying the lens curvature to improve comfort. Your child’s ability to tolerate and adapt to wearing scleral lenses will be evaluated during the fitting process. Regular follow-up appointments will help monitor comfort and ensure the lenses are well-tolerated.
- Regular monitoring: Children’s eyes can undergo changes as they grow, and their prescription and eye health may evolve over time. Regular check-ups with the eye care professional are important to assess the fit, visual acuity, and overall eye health of your child while wearing scleral lenses.
- Parental involvement: Parents or guardians play a crucial role in supporting and monitoring their child’s experience with scleral lenses. Be actively engaged in your child’s eye care, encourage open communication regarding any discomfort or concerns, and follow the recommendations provided by the eye care professional. Parents may even be involved in the application and removal process.
Ultimately, the safety of scleral lenses for your child depends on a combination of factors. Working closely with an experienced eye care professional will help ensure the safe and effective use of scleral lenses for your child’s specific needs.
Can Scleral Lenses Improve My Child’s Quality of Life?
Yes, scleral lenses have the potential to significantly improve a child’s quality of life in various ways including:
- Vision correction: Scleral lenses can provide clear and comfortable vision for children with conditions such as keratoconus, irregular corneas, or high refractive errors. By addressing these visual impairments, scleral lenses can enhance your child’s ability to see and interact with the world, improving their overall quality of life.
- Visual acuity: Scleral lenses can often achieve better visual acuity compared to other vision correction methods like glasses or regular contact lenses. This improved clarity and sharpness can enhance your child’s performance in academic settings, sports activities, and other daily tasks.
- Comfort and stability: Scleral lenses are designed to vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, providing a more stable and secure fit compared to traditional contact lenses. This stability can lead to increased comfort, especially for children who may be sensitive to lens movement or have dry eyes.
- Protection and healing: In cases of corneal trauma or surgery, scleral lenses can protect the cornea during the healing process. They create a barrier between the eye and the external environment, promoting corneal healing and reducing the risk of complications.
- Improved self-confidence: Children who experience vision problems or have conditions that affect their eyes may feel self-conscious or face challenges in social situations. Scleral lenses can help improve their vision, potentially boosting their self-esteem and allowing them to participate more confidently in various activities.
If your child is struggling with any type of vision impairment, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and schedule an appointment. We are here and ready to help your child.