Scleral contact lenses support the sclera and vault over the cornea. These lenses are excellent for correcting visual problems caused by uneven corneas, refractive defects, and a variety of other diseases.
While scleral lenses are frequently used in advanced contact lens clinics, they are unfamiliar to primary care optometrists.
We’ve produced a list of five little-known scleral lens facts to help you understand these lenses, why they operate, and how they’re commonly used.
Scleral lenses are older than other types of contact lenses.
Although soft contact lenses are often used, scleral lenses have a longer history.
In 1887, two German brothers, Friedrich A. and Albert C. Müller, created the first successful scleral lens (or, maybe more accurately, scleral shell). They perched on the sclera, vaulted over the cornea, and left a saline-filled chamber between the lens and the eye. These lenses were not perfect; they were made of blown glass, were huge and heavy, and were not oxygen permeable. These problems were later rectified, resulting in the contemporary scleral lenses we use today.
Despite their size, scleral lenses are pleasant.
First-time scleral lens users frequently worry that the lenses may be uncomfortable, owing to their size and hardness. Scleral lenses are significantly larger than regular soft lenses, but they are just as comfortable, if not more so.
Scleral lenses are made particularly for the shape of the individual eye to which they are fitted. They are intended to settle lightly on the sclera without compressing or stressing the underlying tissue.
Scleral lenses function when other lenses do not.
Scleral lenses are effective when a patient cannot locate a contact lens that fits properly or solves their eyesight problem.
Each scleral contact lens is created specifically for the patient. To maintain a consistent reservoir of fluid between the lens and the cornea, the lenses must be vaulted over the cornea. This design keeps the eye moist for the duration of the lens’s use. Furthermore, the fluid layer compensates for any imperfections in the shape of the cornea, improving eyesight.
Scleral lenses are not outrageously priced.
One of the most widely held beliefs concerning scleral lenses is that they are significantly more expensive than conventional soft lenses. Because the lenses must be fitted and adjusted to fit each unique eye, prescribing scleral lenses requires more work, which many patients believe will result in a higher cost. Patients are frequently astonished to learn that scleral lenses are not prohibitively pricey.
These lenses are frequently covered by insurance, and even when they aren’t, they provide enough of a benefit over standard lenses — in both comfort and vision — that patients are willing to make the expenditure. Furthermore, if the lenses are properly cleaned and maintained, their lifespan can outlast any other type of lens.
Scleral lenses can help the ocular surface heal.
Scleral lenses do more than just correct vision. They also shield the eye by immersing it in an oxygen-permeable fluid-filled container. This configuration not only provides the eye with the moisture and oxygen it requires to keep healthy, but it also protects it from external threats or irritants. As a result, scleral lenses are excellent for aiding ocular surface healing, whether following a corneal transplant or during the recovery period from a chemical or burn injury, for example.
The advantages of scleral contact lenses make them a popular and rewarding option for many people seeking clear and comfortable vision. Don’t overlook the benefits of scleral lenses; they represent the most advanced technology available to patients today.