Scleral Lenses and Vision Rehabilitation: Restoring Vision After Eye Injuries
Scleral lenses are special contacts that sit on the white of the eye (sclera) instead of the cornea. These custom-made lenses are an incredible option for patients who struggle with regular contacts due to ocular injury or disease. Numerous accidents and illnesses can cause intense discomfort that can impact every facet of a person’s life. Our mission is to use technological innovations, modern equipment, and the latest research in the field to restore vision and help people enjoy their lives again.
What Are Scleral Lenses?
Unlike regular soft contact lenses, scleral lenses are made with a hard, gas-permeable polymer, which is molded to fit each patient’s eye shape. This design allows oxygen to pass through, keeping the eyes well-oxygenated. Patients with irregularly shaped corneas can find a great deal of relief with scleral lenses, as the lens doesn’t touch the cornea at all.
These hard lenses maintain a post-lens fluid reservoir between the back of the lens and the front of the cornea, which protects and cleans the ocular surface. This constant saline bath hydrates the ocular surface the entire time they are worn and can promote healing after trauma or surgery.
How Can Scleral Lenses Help With Vision Rehabilitation?
When a patient has experienced ocular surface damage, soft disposable contact lenses often do not fit properly and can lead to discomfort or may not adequately correct vision. Eyeglasses in these conditions often will not help either. The scleral lens saline reservoir helps the eye to retain moisture throughout the day, providing enormous comfort to the wearer. This tear film reservoir will also neutralize corneal irregularity which helps correct vision.
If the inner lining of a patient’s eyelids develops a disease, simply blinking can cause painful scratching on the cornea, which can be prevented by wearing protective scleral lenses. Scleral lenses can also be used after corneal damage or surgery to allow the eye to heal in a moist, protected environment.
What Types of Injuries and Diseases that Scleral Lenses Can Help With?
Some diseases make treating vision loss more difficult, and this is when scleral lenses can be life-changing for many. Patients with dry eye disease, ocular surface disease, neurotrophic Keratitis, and ocular cicatricial pemphigoid are the ideal candidates for custom scleral lenses.
Vision loss caused by Graft-versus-host disease, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, chemical burns, Sjögren syndrome, and other autoimmune disorders may also be corrected using scleral lenses. Some patients may not benefit from scleral lenses if they have low endothelial cell density, often caused by diabetes, corneal transplant, or age.
The endothelium is a thin layer of cells on the posterior surface of the cornea. These cells are responsible for moving water through the eye to prevent hazy buildup. If you have low endothelial cell density, you could experience corneal swelling and blistering.
Most patients can accommodate the larger scleral lenses, but if the gap between your lids is too small, you may struggle to insert the lenses. We will take careful measurements and advise you of all your options before we design your lenses.
Scleral Lenses Have Changed the Treatment of Ocular Disease
Scleral lenses have significantly impacted how we approach treating ocular diseases and degeneration. The need for corneal transplant surgeries is declining as surgery is no longer the only viable option. These developments have improved the quality of life for thousands of patients across the globe. We are passionate about using the developments in scleral lens technology to the fullest to help our patients live comfortably again.
Your Visit to the Miami Contact Lens Institute
At the Miami Contact Lens Institute, you can expect accommodating eye care practitioners to take the time to understand your specific concerns. We perform thorough examinations to determine the baseline health of your eyes. This eye exam is done on every patient and gives us important measurements and information which indicate which lenses could work for you.
Lastly, an essential part of our evaluation is determining whether the tear film functions properly. Tears flush out dust as well as bringing nutrients to the eyes. If the tear films are not producing enough moisture, it can impact the comfort of your lenses. We always look to optimize the ocular surface when recommending lenses in order to achieve success.
Restoring vision after an eye injury is critical to our work. Clear vision shouldn’t be a luxury afforded to only a few people. The developments in scleral lenses allow optometrists to restore the vision of patients who would otherwise have had to struggle with dry eyes, discomfort, and blurry vision for life.