Several eye conditions require users to wear glasses or contact lenses. However, the very same condition that requires corrective devices might also make them difficult to use. Enter scleral lenses, which allow people who have previously been unable to wear contacts to do so.
Scleral lenses have been prescribed to patients with irregular corners, which make it difficult for them to wear contacts. This could be due to conditions such as keratoconus, irregular corneas, or even eye surgery. People who suffer from dry eyes or otherwise have hard-to-fit eyes should also consider these contact lenses.
What Are Scleral Lenses?
Scleral contact lenses are gas permeable lenses that are larger than regular contacts that typically measure between 9.0 and 9.5 mm. This means that the lenses are breathable and often easier on the eyes. The larger size can improve vision and may even be easier to insert and remove for some people. Your optometrist may suggest these types of contacts if you've struggled with regular lenses. Furthermore, if your eye doctor has advised you against wearing traditional contact lenses, ask whether scleral contacts would be a better fit.
Scleral lenses get their name from the "sclera," or the white of the eye. This larger size of contact covers more of the white of the eye unlike regular contact lenses, which just cover your cornea. Scleral lenses have the benefit of staying in more easily. Plus, if you happen to drop a lens, it's a bit easier to find it.
There is also space behind the contact lens, in front of your cornea, that acts as a reservoir for tears to help prevent the contact lenses from drying out your eyes. This space also provides room for irregularly-shaped corneas. For patients who find regular hard lenses uncomfortable, scleral contacts may be the solution. Wearing them can be more comfortable because of their size and fluid reservoir.
There are three different types of scleral lenses:
- Full scleral lenses are the largest lenses and can be up to 24 mm
- Mini-scleral lenses are 18 mm or smaller
- Corneo-scleral lenses and rest between your cornea and the white of your eye with a size of 13 to 15 mm
Generally speaking, the less serious your issue, the smaller size scleral contacts you can use. Because scleral contact lenses are custom made for your eyes, they cost a bit more than traditional contact lenses.
If you live in Mesa or Scottsdale and are interested in scleral lenses, Riviera Opticare is happy to provide more information. Call the Scottsdale office at (480) 991-6432 or the Mesa office at (480) 827-9184