Our eye doctors are experts at the fitting of all types of contact lenses. The specialty lenses we offer range from soft lenses for the treatment of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism to bifocal contacts. Our advanced, specialty scleral lenses are recommended for the treatment of keratoconus, dry eye syndrome and many other eye diseases. We will work with you to ensure you achieve the best and most comfortable vision possible.
Scleral contact lenses are a special offering at Premier Eye Associates. Many of our patients have been told that they cannot wear contact lenses because of an irregular cornea or other eye problems. Our doctors have been trained to fit specialty scleral contact lenses, a large diameter, gas permeable, contact lens specially designed to vault over the entire surface of the cornea and rest on the white part of the eye (sclera), as pictured above.
By design, scleral lenses functionally replace the irregular cornea to correct vision problems caused by keratoconus and other irregularities of the cornea. In addition, the liquid reservoir provides comfort to people with severe dry eyes who otherwise would not tolerate contact lens wear.
As part of your examination, our doctors will use a topographer to take a number of surface measurements in order to map your cornea. This test is not invasive and will only take a few minutes. These measurements will be used to select from several different scleral lenses available in the office to evaluate and order custom made lenses to your eyes.
What Are Scleral Lenses?
Scleral Contacts are gas permeable lenses fit to vault over the cornea. For irregular corneas, the scleral lens will provide a new shape in front of the cornea to restore clear focus to your vision. The resurfacing design will often provide vision clearer than what can be obtained from glasses or conventional contacts. The special vault design of scleral lenses also benefits dry eye patients by continuously bathing the eye in solution acting as a liquid bandage for corneal surface disease. The scleral lens must be worn on a regular basis in order to provide clear vision and ocular comfort.
Can Any Doctor Fit Scleral Lenses?
No. Fitting requires proper diagnostic equipment, computer software, and expertise. Our doctors have received special training and are certified to fit a variety of lens designs.
Is The Technology New? Why Haven’t I heard of Scleral Contacts?
Today’s generation of scleral contact lenses are custom made to each eye with the most comfortable and healthiest materials available. New technology, called plasma coating, is added to the lenses, providing enhanced moisture retention and comfort. However, these types of lenses are nothing new. In the 1880’s the first corrective contact lenses ever invented were Scleral contacts and were made from blown glass. These remained the only contact lenses available for patients until the 1950’s. Healthier, oxygen permeable materials were then developed in 1983, allowing for more comfortable rigid lens designs.
Who is a Candidate?
Scleral contact lenses are indicated to improve the vision in patients with corneal irregularities including:
- Pellucid Degeneration
- Post Radial Keratotomy (RK)
- Post LASIK
- Post Corneal Transplants
- High Astigmatism
- Corneal Scarring
Treatment with scleral contacts can also provide relief for patients with ocular surface disease. These can include:
- Dry Eye Syndrome
- Ocular Chronic Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD)
- Sjogrens Syndrome
- Corneal Exposure
- History of Ocular Herpes (Shingles) and AutoImmune disorders (eg. Rheumatoid Arthritis)
Treatment of ocular surface disease with scleral lenses may require a combination of treatment modalities. Refractive errors (High Myopia, Hyperopia, or Astigmatism) and presbyopia (the need for reading glasses or bifocals) can be corrected with scleral lenses as well. They are safe for patients 5 years old and over.