If you’ve previously been told that you can’t wear contact lenses due to an eye condition,
If you have an irregular cornea or other problems, you should seek a second opinion and inquire about scleral contact lenses with your eye care professional.
What exactly are scleral lenses?
Scleral contacts are gas-permeable contact lenses with a large diameter that vault over the entire corneal surface and rest on the “white” of the eye (sclera). Scleral lenses correct vision problems caused by keratoconus and other corneal irregularities by functionally replacing the irregular cornea with a perfectly smooth optical surface.
Furthermore, the space between the cornea and the back surface of a scleral lens acts as a fluid reservoir, providing comfort to people with severe dry eyes who would otherwise be unable to tolerate contact lens wear.
Keratoconus scleral contact lenses
Many eye doctors recommend scleral contact lenses for various difficult-to-fit eyes, including keratoconus eyes.
Standard gas permeable contact lenses can be used in cases of early keratoconus. However, if these lenses do not centre properly on your eyes, move excessively with blinks, or cause discomfort, switching to larger scleral contact lenses may help.
Scleral lenses are more comfortable for people with keratoconus because they vault the corneal surface and rest on the less sensitive surface of the sclera.
Furthermore, compared to traditional corneal gas permeable lenses, scleral lenses are designed to fit with little or no lens movement during blinks, making them more stable on the eye.
Scleral contact lenses are used to treat a variety of eye conditions.
Scleral contact lenses can also be used for eyes that have had a cornea transplant and for people with severe dry eyes caused by conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), and Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
With advances in lens design technology, manufacturers can now create scleral lenses that can correct more conditions than ever, including bifocal scleral contacts for presbyopia correction.
Scleral contacts with special effects
The terms scleral lenses or sclera lenses are sometimes used interchangeably to describe special-effect contact lenses that dramatically alter the appearance of the wearer’s eyes.
On the other hand, most special-effect contact lenses are soft lenses that bear little resemblance to scleral gas permeable contacts — except for their large diameter to mask the cornea completely. Furthermore, soft special-effect contacts are typically intended for cosmetic purposes only, not vision correction.