What are scleral lenses?
These hard-to-fit contacts are rigid gas permeable lenses that have an extra-large diameter. They vault completely over your cornea, coming to rest on the whites of your eye (called the sclera). Scleral lenses thereby cover the irregular corneal surface with a rounded optical surface, helping you to achieve clear vision – even if you have keratoconus.
As the shape of scleral lenses creates a bridge over the eye, it leaves a gap that fills with tears. This pocket of tears enhances comfortable vision for people with dry eyes, which makes scleral lenses a great option for people with severe dry eye syndrome.
How safe are scleral lenses?
Although this may be the first time you have heard of scleral lenses, they aren’t a new invention. In fact, they are the oldest type of contact lenses, invented in the early 16th century by Leonardo da Vinci. However, the first prototypes that were manufactured in Europe were not very permeable to oxygen. As a result, they caused many negative side effects, such as corneal swelling.
Nowadays, modern scleral lenses are designed and crafted with precise technology, new materials and computer-driven lathes. This leads to a higher level of safety and comfort. Contemporary sclerals used at our Seattle Vision Center have a high oxygen permeability, which reduces the risk of eye complications. Patients with keratoconus can have crystal-clear vision along with protection of the sensitive corneal surface.
What happens during a fitting for scleral lenses?
Your Seattle eye doctor will map your cornea using advanced corneal topography equipment. This generates a detailed diagram of your cornea, which is used to make customized scleral contact lenses. We equip our office with the newest technologies in order to ensure an efficient eye care experience and lenses that fit you perfectly.
At the very beginning, it can be tricky to insert scleral contacts. Yet, our optometrists provide complete instruction and training. After a short practice period of inserting and removing your lenses, you’ll have no trouble at all! Scleral lenses are very durable and easy to handle.
You must care for scleral lenses in the same way as standard contacts. Right after you remove them, clean and store them with the recommended disinfectant. Learn more about How to Insert & Care for Scleral Lenses.
Typically, our Seattle eye care professionals prescribe scleral lenses typically for patients with keratoconus, corneal dystrophies and degenerations, and in the case of corneal scarring. In addition, they are helpful for people with extreme dry eye syndrome, chronic inflammatory conditions, Sjorgen’s disease and other specific conditions. Many of our patients who try scleral lenses report that they are pleased to finally enjoy sharp and comfortable vision!
Scleral lenses can also be the ideal treatment for people with a vision prescription that exceeds the standard parameters of soft contacts.
Contact our optometrists to schedule a consultation at our optometry practice. We offer expert fittings for scleral lenses and a premium selection of these specialty contacts for hard-to-fit vision conditions.