Scleral Lenses for Everyone!

What are scleral lenses? Scleral lenses are large diameter gas permeable contact lenses that vaults over the cornea and lands on the white of the eye (the sclera) and is supported by tear fluid that fills in between the lens and the eye – providing hydration for the surface of the eye.


Courtesy of N4i on Flickr

Scleral lenses are filled with fluid to neutralize corneal irregularity and protect the ocular surface. Scleral lenses have traditionally been used to correct irregular astigmatism or treat ocular surface disease including those with compromised corneas. Scleral lenses used have demonstrated tremendous success time and time again. For thousands of Americans suffering from irregular corneas or ocular surface dryness, scleral lenses have been life-changing.

There are now several scleral lens designs available for patients with healthy eyes. These are eyes without disease or irregularities. Scleral lenses can be used to correct myopia (nearsighted), hyperopia (farsighted), astigmatism (condition where the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, is irregularly shaped or the curvature of the lens inside the eye) or presbyopia (age-related condition when the eye’s lens doesn’t change shape as easily as it once did, making it more difficult to read or see).

Additionally, scleral lenses can be used for sports since they do not dislocate during activities.

Why use a scleral lens for a healthy eye? Consider someone who is not satisfied with their current contact lenses. Maybe the vision is not clear enough. Perhaps the lenses are not as comfortable either at the start or end of the day.

Transitioning from other contact lens modalities to scleral lenses is easily attainable and improves the contact lens experience. Scleral lenses can significantly improve both the vision and comfort for healthy eyes.

~Melissa Barnett, OD, FAAO, FSLS
California Optometric Association

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