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Scleral Lenses Q & A

Our Ventura, CA, Eye Doctors Explain About Scleral Lenses

What are scleral lenses?

girl's face smiling in VenturaThese specialty contact lenses are rigid, gas permeable contacts with an extra-wide diameter. They vault over your cornea and rest on the sclera of your eye (white part). If you have an irregular corneal surface, scleral lenses thereby create a smooth and rounded optical surface to enable clear vision.

In addition to providing sharp vision for corneal disorders such as keratoconus, corneal dystrophies, scarring and degenerations, scleral lenses can also improve visual comfort for people who suffer from severe dry eye syndrome. Basically, as they bridge over the eye, a gap is created that fills with tears. This tear-filled zone keeps dry eyes moist.

Is scleral lens insertion complicated?

When you first start wearing scleral lenses, insertion can be tricky. However, your eye doctor will teach you the best way to put them into your eyes. After training and a short practice session, you’ll have no trouble. Also, scleral lenses are large and durable, which makes them easy to handle.

Generally, we advise our Ventura patients to place a mirror flat on the table in front of them and to fill the bowl of the contact lens with sterile saline solution for scleral lenses. The lenses can then be inserted with your fingers or with a specialized scleral lenses insertion tool, which looks like a miniature plunger. For easy scleral lens insertion, patients should look downwards towards the mirror, hold eyelid open with one hand, and insert the lens with the other hand. As soon as the saline makes contact with the eyeball, press the lens gently against the eye and let go. Repeat the process with the second eye.

If your scleral lenses do not feel comfortable, it may be because an air bubble is trapped under the lens. If this happens, remove the lens and insert it again.

Is scleral lens removal difficult?

Just like scleral lens insertion, once you get the hang of it, scleral lens removal will also be easy and natural. There are two basic methods of removing them: with the help of the specialized miniature plunger or with your fingers.

If you use your fingers, place two fingertips gently on either side of the lens to break the seal from your eye and dislodge the lens. Sometimes, the lens will pop out suddenly – so be ready to catch it. If you use a scleral lens plunger tool, wet the tip with saline and attach it to the lower third of your lens. Press gently, and pull the lens up and out.

How do I care for scleral lenses?

Immediately after you remove your scleral contact lenses, clean them to remove protein deposits and debris. Apply a few drops of cleaning solution onto the lens and rub it with your fingertip. Rinse it off with saline for scleral lenses, and store it overnight in a clean case. The lens should be completely submerged in fresh scleral lenses solution, with the type and brand recommended by your optometrist. Repeat the process with the other lens.

How long can I wear scleral lenses?

Everyone’s eyes are different. Your eye doctor will recommend the ideal wearing schedule to preserve your long-lasting eye health and sharp vision.

Many people who wear scleral lenses can keep them in for 12-24 hours each day. However, in order to improve lasting comfort, some of our patients need to remove their lenses, clean them and re-insert them with fresh saline throughout the day. Most eye care professionals advise removing scleral lenses before sleeping, as there is a higher risk of eye infection association with wearing them while asleep.

Are there any scleral lenses side effects?

Nowadays, modern scleral lenses are crafted with precise technology and new materials that are highly oxygen permeable. In general, this reduces the risk of ocular complications and makes them very comfortable and safe to wear. As long as you have a professional fitting for scleral lenses and you follow your optometrist’s instructions for responsible care and handling, you should not suffer any scleral lenses side effects.

What do patients have to say about scleral lenses?

In general, scleral lenses reviews and testimonials are very positive! Many people with keratoconus attest that scleral lenses were life-changing, giving them sharp vision after years of other, unsuccessful attempts at vision correction. Also, a number of our patients who suffer from dry eyes only found relief after being fit with scleral lenses. Regardless of the reason for requiring these specialty lenses, most scleral lenses reviews praise the enhanced visual comfort and clarity that is experienced.

Not sure about scleral lenses? You might want to try toric lenses for astigmatism.