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 to see well who have previously been unable to wear contacts or who can not be adaquately corrected in glasses.
Scleral lenses are prescribed to patients with irregular corneas, which make it difficult for them to wear traditional contacts. This could be due to conditions such as keratoconus, irregular corneas, or for individuals who have had previous eye surgery. People who suffer from chronic dry eyes or otherwise have had trouble seeing will with soft contact lenses should also consider these contact lenses.
What Are Scleral Lenses?
Scleral contact lenses are gas permeable lenses that are larger than regular contacts, they typically measure between 14.5 to 18mm. This means that the lenses are breathable and often more comfortable than the traditional, smaller gas-perm lenses. 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 part of the eye. This larger size contact allows the lens to rest on the white of the eye unlike regular hard contact lenses, which sit on your cornea. Scleral lenses have the benefit of staying in more easily and more less. 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. Wearing them can be more comfortable because of their size, limited movement, 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 are 13 to 15 mm. These are often the first ones our optometrists try, and successful for most patients
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. However, some times they are considered medically necessary due to various eye conditions.
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