A Guide to Scleral Contact Lenses Benefits and Uses
Scleral contact lenses are large-diameter lenses that cover not only the cornea but also the white part of the eye called the sclera. These lenses rest on the sclera, creating a fluid-filled chamber over the cornea. Originally developed for patients with severe corneal irregularities or diseases, scleral lenses have become increasingly popular due to their numerous benefits and wide range of uses. In this article, we will explore the benefits of scleral contact lenses and delve into their various uses.
Benefits of Scleral Contact Lenses:
1. Improved Vision: Scleral lenses offer superior vision correction compared to traditional contact lenses. Due to their large size and unique design, these lenses vault over the cornea, creating a smooth, evenly surfaced optical platform. This helps in correcting irregular corneal shapes and refractive errors, resulting in improved visual acuity.
2. Comfortable Fit: Unlike traditional contact lenses, scleral lenses do not directly touch the cornea. Instead, they rest on the sclera, which is less sensitive and more resilient. This allows for a more comfortable wearing experience as the lenses do not irritate the eyes or cause discomfort, making them a suitable choice for individuals with sensitive or dry eyes.
3. Moisturizing Effect: Scleral lenses have a reservoir of saline solution between the lens and the cornea. This fluid-filled chamber acts as a moisturizing agent, providing constant hydration to the cornea. As a result, scleral lenses are an ideal option for individuals with dry eye syndrome, as the lens helps retain moisture and reduces symptoms of dryness.
4. Protects the Cornea: The cornea is one of the most sensitive parts of the eye and is susceptible to damage caused by exposure to the environment. Scleral lenses act as a barrier, protecting the cornea from dust, debris, and pollutants. This makes them an excellent option for individuals who work in dusty or windy environments.
5. Long-Lasting Wear: Scleral lenses have a longer life span compared to traditional contact lenses. With proper care and maintenance, they can last up to a year or even longer. This not only reduces the frequency of lens replacements but also helps in lowering the overall cost of vision correction.
Uses of Scleral Contact Lenses:
1. Corneal Irregularities: Scleral lenses are primarily used for individuals with corneal irregularities such as keratoconus, corneal scarring, or corneal ectasia. These conditions cause the cornea to have an irregular shape, resulting in distorted or blurred vision. By covering the entire cornea with a smooth optical surface, scleral lenses provide clear and stable vision for such individuals.
2. Gas Permeable Alternative: Scleral lenses can be a suitable alternative for individuals who are unable to tolerate traditional gas permeable lenses. Due to their unique design, scleral lenses provide a more comfortable fit and better visual outcomes for patients who have difficulty wearing other types of rigid lenses.
In conclusion, scleral contact lenses offer numerous benefits and are utilized in various scenarios. With their superior vision correction, comfortable fit, and moisturizing effect, scleral lenses are a popular choice for individuals with corneal irregularities or diseases. Additionally, their ability to protect the cornea and long-lasting wear make them a practical and cost-effective option for those seeking enhanced visual acuity. If you have a corneal irregularity or are struggling with traditional contact lenses, consider consulting an eye care professional to determine whether scleral lenses could be the right fit for you.