Scleral Lenses for Corneal Dystrophies
The term “corneal dystrophies” refers to a rare group of genetic eye disorders. A person who has corneal dystrophies has an abnormal buildup of material in the cornea.
The cornea is the eye’s outermost lens—it controls and focuses how light enters the eye. Most of the time, corneal dystrophies affect both eyes. This disorder typically progresses slowly and runs in families.
Symptoms of Corneal Dystrophies
The symptoms that you experience with corneal dystrophies depend on several factors, such as the type of corneal dystrophy that you have. Some people may experience no symptoms at all. Others may notice that material buildup causes their corneas to become opaque rather than clear, leading to blurry vision or vision loss.
You may also experience corneal erosion, which occurs when the surface of the cornea loosens from the layer underneath. Symptoms of corneal erosion include pain in the eye that may be mild or severe, sensitivity to light, or a feeling that something is in your eye. If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to see your eye doctor for an evaluation.
Treatment Options for Corneal Dystrophies
Your best treatment option will depend on your symptoms and the type of dystrophy that you have. If you have no symptoms at all, you may only need regular checkups with your eye doctor to monitor the disease’s progress.
There is a range of treatments for individuals who do have bothersome symptoms, ranging from eye drops and ointments to surgery (corneal transplantation). One of the most effective and least invasive treatments is scleral contact lenses.
About Scleral Lenses
Scleral contact lenses have gained popularity in recent years as experts in eye care have learned all that these versatile lenses can do.
Scleral lenses are rigid gas permeable lenses, which means that they are made of a hard material that is still lightweight, breathable, and comfortable. Rigid gas permeable lenses offer multiple advantages over soft lenses. For one thing, they tend to be more durable than soft contact lenses, making them a potentially more cost-effective choice. In many cases, RGP lenses can provide clearer vision, and they can be lower maintenance than soft lenses.
Scleral lenses are larger than traditional lenses, covering not just the cornea but also part of the sclera (the white of the eye). These lenses come into contact with the sclera around the outer area of the lens but leave a vault over the cornea. Because the cornea has many nerve endings, and scleral lenses do not encounter the cornea, scleral lenses are often extremely comfortable to wear.
Who Can Benefit from Scleral Lenses?
Scleral lenses are useful in many different conditions involving the cornea, including keratoconus, post-surgery concerns, corneal trauma, severe astigmatism, severe dry eyes, and corneal ectasia. Corneal dystrophies can also benefit from scleral lenses: because there is a space between the lens and and the patient’s corneas, they create a reservoir of liquid that keeps the cornea moist and protected.
Scleral lenses require professional fitting by a qualified eye care practitioner. Many patients find that scleral lenses offer a high level of comfort and help to decrease their corneal dystrophy symptoms.
At Weston Contact Lens Institute, we offer scleral contact lenses along with a wide range of other services, including regular eye exams, kids’ eye exams, contact lenses, dry eye treatments, myopia management, and emergency eye care. If you are experiencing any abnormal symptoms related to your vision or eye comfort, contact us right away to schedule an appointment.