How to Treat Dry Eyes, Tiredness, and Discomfort with Scleral Lenses
Dry eye syndrome is a common condition in which a patient’s eyes cannot produce adequate lubrication. There are several reasons for this concern—for example, the eyes may not produce enough tears, or they may produce poor-quality tears. Tear instability can cause irritation, inflammation, and even damage to the surface of the eye.
Beyond the potential long-term damage, dry eyes are uncomfortable in the short term. Individuals with dry eyes may experience burning or stinging and blurry vision. You may notice your dry eyes more in certain situations, such as while working at your computer for prolonged periods, in air-conditioned rooms, or on airplanes.
There are treatments that can make you more comfortable, including lifestyle changes and moisturizing eye drops. You may also need to address an underlying condition, such as a specific medication or eyelid condition that contributes to your dry eyes.
What are scleral lenses?
Scleral contact lenses are one very effective treatment for dry eyes. Traditional contact lenses can be uncomfortable for patients with this condition: these lenses can exacerbate dry eye symptoms, including redness, itchiness, and the feeling that you have something in your eye.
However, there is one type of contact lens that is not only comfortable to wear but also improves symptoms and provides sharp, clear vision: scleral contact lenses. Scleral lenses are different from traditional contact lenses in several ways–most notably, they are larger, and they are custom-fit for superior comfort and function.
Scleral lenses are gas permeable, which means that they let oxygen through, helping to keep your eyes healthy. If you have dry eyes, your cornea may be more sensitive than normal. Scleral lenses address this problem with their shape. They do not touch the cornea directly but vault over it, leaving space between the cornea and the lens for hydrating fluid to sit in and bathe the eye.
Related Resources: What Vision Problems Do Scleral Lenses Correct?
How do scleral lenses treat dry eye syndrome?
Traditional soft contact lenses absorb moisture from the eye, which can make dry eye symptoms worse. Scleral lenses provide moisture, keeping the eye more hydrated and comfortable.
When you apply a scleral lens, you first fill it with saline solution. The vaulted lens holds this saline solution on the surface of your eye all day long. This consistent moisture creates optimal conditions for the comfort and healing of dry eyes. Scleral lenses also cover more of the surface of the eye, helping to shield it from external irritants.
Related Resources: 6 Reasons Why Scleral Lenses Can Solve Your Dry Eye Syndrome
Tips for using scleral lenses
If you are trying scleral lenses for the first time, there will be a learning curve. However, these lenses are highly comfortable and very easy to use and care for once you know a few essential tips:
- Rinse and fill them properly. Always follow your eye doctor’s instructions for maintaining your lenses, including rubbing them thoroughly after removal to eliminate surface microorganisms and debris. Then, rinse them with saline solution and store them properly.
- Remove your lenses at the right time. The best time to remove scleral lenses is about an hour before you go to bed. However, if you feel that you need to remove them sooner, you should do so. If you notice that your lenses become fogged up, it may be because some changes need to be made to the saline solution or fit of the lens. Sometimes fogging may be due to inadequate eyelid hygiene and this can be addressed and treated as well. Remove and re-apply your scleral lenses or visit your optometrist for an exam.
- Use excellent hygiene when inserting your lenses. Be sure to wash your hands before applying your lenses, and keep your fingernails short to avoid scratching your eye. Always apply your lenses over a clean, flat surface so that if you drop one, it won’t become damaged and will be easy to find.
- Keep up with your follow-up appointments. You should visit your eye doctor regularly and as recommended so that they can examine your eyes and make sure that your lenses are not causing any damage. That way, the lenses will continue to fit properly and correct your vision.
If you have any questions about treating dry eyes with scleral lenses, you can contact us here.