Scleral Contact Lenses for Keratoconus and Other Eye Problems Explained
At the Weston Contact Lens Institutes, scleral contact lenses are among our top specialties. For conditions ranging from dry eye syndrome and chemical burns to Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and corneal transplant recovery, scleral lenses can help achieve both comfort and vision improvement while few other treatments can. However, while scleral lenses are among our go-to tools for vision correction—and while many of our existing patients praise the results they provide—we have found that many new patients are not familiar with what scleral lenses even are.
Scleral Lenses and Keratoconus
To understand how scleral lenses work and why they are so beneficial, let’s look at their use to treat a specific condition. Keratoconus is a condition in which the cornea thins and bulges outward. If you have keratoconus, the condition will cause your cornea to lose its usual round shape, instead developing into a more cone-like shape. This cone shape causes the light to irregularly enter the eye, making it difficult for it to focus correctly on the retina. The ultimate result of keratoconus is distorted vision, ultimately to the point where the eye can no longer focus properly without the aid of eyeglasses or contact lenses.
The problem with using contact lenses to correct keratoconus is the way the condition changes the shape of your cornea. It is challenging to fit standard contact lenses to match the cone-shaped bulge that keratoconus creates. Furthermore, since keratoconus patients often experience ongoing changes to the shape of the cornea, there is no guarantee that a contact lens will still fit in a month or several months.
How Scleral Lenses Work
Scleral lenses are effective for correcting vision in persons with keratoconus because they do not require the close surface-matching fit of standard contact lenses. In fact, scleral lenses do not sit on the corneal surface at all. Instead, they sit on the white of the eye—known more technically as the sclera—and then vault over the entire cornea. This vault, chamber, or reservoir is filled with a pure, preservative-free saline solution, which serves two basic functions: 1) to keep the eye hydrated and healthy, and 2) to compensate for any irregularities in the shape of the corneal surface.
For a condition like keratoconus, which impairs vision because of irregularities in corneal shape, scleral lenses are extremely beneficial. Not only can these lenses allow a keratoconus patient to see clearly without the need for glasses, but they are also more comfortable than standard contact lenses. Some patients hate contact lenses because they dislike the sensation of having something sitting on their corneas. Scleral lenses solve this problem.
Obviously, these benefits extend to conditions other than keratoconus, from other problems with blurry or distorted vision to recovery from eye injuries or surgeries. For patients in the latter situation, the protective and hydrating characteristics of scleral lens design are excellent for keeping the ocular surface safe and fostering faster healing.
Contact Weston Contact Lens Institute to Learn More about Scleral Lenses
Are you curious to learn whether scleral lenses might be a workable solution to your eye condition or vision problem? Whether you are struggling with keratoconus, working through injury recovery, or dealing with another eye condition, there’s a good chance scleral lenses might help.
Schedule a consultation at Weston Contact Lens Institute to find the answers you need.