Scleral Lenses vs. Soft Contact Lenses: Which is Right for You?
When it comes to vision correction, various options are available, such as glasses, Soft contact lenses, and scleral lenses.
Contact lenses are a popular alternative to glasses for many people due to their comfort, convenience, and ability to enhance vision without the need for frames. However, with the emergence of scleral lenses, individuals seeking vision correction wonder which option is best for them.
What are Soft contact lenses?
Soft contact lenses are thin, curved discs made of a flexible material, typically hydrogel or silicone hydrogel. They are designed to fit directly on the cornea’s surface, which is the clear outer layer of the eye.
Contact lenses are available in various types, such as daily disposable, extended wear, and monthly replacement options. They can correct various vision issues, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, presbyopia..
For some patients with eye diseases, specific eye shapes, corneal irregularities or patients who require more stability, there are also heavier, sturdier gas permeable contact lenses.
What are Scleral Lenses?
Scleral lenses are rigid gas-permeable lenses that are larger in diameter than Soft contact lenses.
They vault over the entire corneal surface and rest on the white part of the eye, known as the sclera. Scleral lenses are rigid, allowing oxygen to pass through, ensuring the eye stays healthy and comfortable during wear.
These contacts are particularly suitable for individuals with irregular corneas, dry eye syndrome, and other conditions, that may make wearing Soft contact lenses challenging or uncomfortable.
Scleral Lenses vs. Soft Contact Lenses
Soft contact lenses are generally considered comfortable for most wearers. However, some individuals may experience discomfort due to lens movement or dryness, particularly when wearing them for extended periods.
On the other hand, scleral lenses provide exceptional comfort for those with sensitive eyes or irregular corneas. Because they vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, scleral lenses create a tear reservoir between the lens and the cornea, providing continuous lubrication and reducing the risk of irritation or discomfort.
This reservoir maintains hydration and can reduce pain, redness, light sensitivity, and discomfort associated with dry eye that some may experience from wearing contact lenses.
Both Soft contact lenses and scleral lenses provide excellent vision correction. However, scleral lenses may offer superior visual acuity for individuals with irregular corneas or conditions like keratoconus, as they create a smooth optical surface that helps correct irregularities.
The fitting process for Soft contact lenses is straightforward, and most eye care practitioners are experienced in prescribing and fitting these lenses.
Scleral lenses, however, require a more specialized fitting process, as they must be carefully measured and customized to ensure proper fit and optimal vision correction. As a result, not all eye care practitioners may offer scleral lens fitting, and you may need to seek out a specialist like our doctor, who has years of training to help patients see clearly.
Soft contact lenses are typically more affordable than scleral lenses. The cost of Soft lenses can vary depending on the type and brand, but they are generally accessible to a wide range of budgets.
On the other hand, scleral lenses are custom-made for each individual and require a more specialized fitting process, making them more expensive. Scleral lenses worn and cared for properly for a person who doesn’t require a prescription change can last anywhere from one to three years. For those with specific eye conditions or who require a higher level of comfort, the benefits of scleral lenses may outweigh the cost difference.
Maintenance and Care
Soft contact and scleral lenses require regular cleaning and proper care to maintain optimal eye health. However, scleral lenses may need more thorough cleaning due to their larger size and the presence of the tear reservoir to prevent protein buildup.
Both Soft and scleral lenses can also be more susceptible to scratches and damage if not handled carefully.
Who Should Consider Scleral Lenses?
Scleral lenses may be an ideal choice for individuals who:
- Have irregular corneas or conditions like keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration, or post-LASIK ectasia.
- Experience discomfort or poor vision quality with Soft contact lenses.
- Have dry eye syndrome or other ocular surface conditions that make wearing Soft contact lenses uncomfortable, or
- Require a higher level of visual acuity than Soft contact lenses can achieve.
When deciding between scleral and Soft contact lenses, it is essential to consider factors such as comfort, vision quality, fitting process, cost, and maintenance. While Soft contact lenses may be suitable for most individuals, scleral lenses can benefit those with specific eye conditions or who require a higher level of comfort and vision correction.
It is important to consult an eye care professional to determine which option best suits your individual needs and lifestyle. Our doctor and staff are on standby to help you determine which treatment is best suited for your visual and comfort needs. Book an appointment with our office to improve your vision, no matter your prescription or condition.