What are Scleral Lenses?
Enhancing Vision and Comfort with Custom-Fit Scleral Lenses
Custom-fit scleral lenses offer remarkable improvements in visual acuity and comfort for individuals with corneal distortions and irregularities. These lenses are designed to vault over the cornea, eliminating any pressure and discomfort by resting on the sclera. By creating a new optical surface, they effectively replace the distorted cornea. Additionally, a reservoir of pure saline solution between the back surface of the lens and the front of the cornea ensures a constantly moist environment, promoting optimal healing.
Compared to conventional GP lenses, scleral lenses are larger in size, providing greater stability on the eye and reducing the risk of accidental dislodgment. This enhanced stability makes them exceptionally comfortable, especially for individuals with sensitive eyes or irregularly shaped corneas. Furthermore, all scleral lenses are made from highly breathable gas permeable materials, allowing ample oxygen flow to the front of the eye, ensuring both ocular health and comfort.
Types of Scleral Lenses
Scleral lenses can be categorized based on their size and primary contact with the eye's surface:
- Corneo-scleral lenses and semi-scleral lenses are significantly larger than traditional GP lenses and rest near the junction between the cornea and the sclera.
- Mini-scleral lenses vault over the entire corneal surface and rest on the anterior sclera.
- Full scleral lenses are the largest in size and provide the most clearance between the back surface of the lens and the cornea.
If you're interested in exploring the benefits of scleral lenses, contact us to determine if they are suitable for your needs. Our staff provides comprehensive evaluations and offers the highest level of care to patients from The Woodlands and Magnolia, Texas, as well as surrounding communities.
Comfort and Improved Vision with Scleral Lenses
Patients consistently report comfort as the most significant advantage of wearing scleral lenses. Throughout the fitting process, we prioritize our patients' feedback on lens comfort, and it's no surprise that they often describe the lenses as "fine" or "not noticeable at all."
Traditional contact lenses, typically 9-10 mm in diameter, tend to move slightly with each blink, potentially causing discomfort and the lid to roll over the lens edge. Many individuals find it challenging to wear traditional lenses for extended periods due to this discomfort.
On the other hand, scleral lenses have a larger diameter, distributing their weight over a larger and less sensitive area. Consequently, when you blink, the eyelid doesn't catch the edge of the lens. The firm placement of the lens on the eye provides more stable vision compared to traditional lenses. Moreover, the lens vaulting over the cornea protects it from blinking-related abrasions and external irritants. Made from highly oxygen permeable materials, scleral lenses provide a soothing bath of artificial tears, refreshing the ocular surface. By improving comfort and stability, scleral lenses not only enhance vision but also increase overall satisfaction.
Suitable Candidates for Scleral Lenses
Anyone aiming to achieve optimal vision with contact lenses can benefit from scleral lenses. However, they are particularly effective in managing the following conditions:
- Hard-to-fit eyes: Individuals with irregularly shaped corneas, whether due to natural causes, eye conditions like keratoconus, or complications following surgery, often experience vision problems that cannot be fully corrected with soft contact lenses. Scleral lenses offer a more comfortable and secure fit, resulting in improved vision, sometimes surpassing that of glasses.
The following conditions can make wearing traditional contact lenses challenging:
- Dry eyes
- Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC)
- Post-refractive surgery (e.g., LASIK, PRK)
- Dry eyes: Those with dry eyes may find traditional contact lenses difficult to wear. Scleral lenses create a tear reservoir between the back surface of the lens and the cornea, ensuring a consistently moist and comfortable front surface of the eye.
Can Children Wear Scleral Lenses?
Young children (over 6 months of age) with ocular surface diseases or severe dry eyes can benefit from wearing full scleral lenses, as they require maximum eye protection.
Mini-scleral lenses, ranging from 15.0mm to 18.0mm in size, are an excellent choice for young children with normal corneas but high refractive errors or irregular corneas such as keratoconus. Mini-scleral lenses also provide comfort similar to soft contact lenses, making them suitable for kids who cannot tolerate corneal GP lenses.
The Scleral Lens Fitting Process
During the fitting process, we use advanced corneal topography equipment to carefully map the patient's cornea. This detailed diagram is then used to create customized scleral contact lenses.
Insertion and Care of Scleral Lenses
Initially, inserting scleral lenses may pose a challenge. However, with proper training from an optometrist, the process becomes habitual. Scleral lenses are highly durable and easy to handle, and with the right guidance, caring for them becomes effortless.
Changes to Expect with Scleral Lenses
Once properly fitted with scleral lenses, you can anticipate gradual improvements in clarity, color perception, and detailed contrast within your visual field. The comfort provided allows for all-day wear, enabling you to engage in your favorite activities with enhanced vision.
Consulting an Eye Doctor Specializing in Scleral Lenses
When considering scleral lenses, it's crucial to seek an eye doctor with the expertise and experience to fit them correctly. Scleral lenses require precise customization, as each patient's case varies in severity and corneal measurements. Our team of experts in scleral lenses ensures that you receive the highest level of eye care tailored to your specific vision needs.
Insurance Coverage for Scleral Lenses
Insurance coverage for scleral lenses varies among providers. Some may cover the examination and custom fitting but not the lenses themselves, while others may cover a portion or the entire cost, usually after exhausting other treatment methods. To understand your coverage and associated fees, you can contact us directly or check with your insurance provider.
Our practice proudly serves patients from The Woodlands, Magnolia, Shenandoah, Tomball, and neighboring areas, providing exceptional eye care for all your vision needs.