Scleral lenses are a type of contact lens that rest on the white part of the eye, known as the sclera. They are larger than standard contact lenses and are designed to vault over the cornea, creating a fluid-filled space between the lens and the cornea. Scleral lenses have gained popularity in recent years due to their ability to provide improved vision and comfort for individuals with certain eye conditions.
Scleral lenses work by creating a new, smooth, and regular ocular surface, improving vision for individuals with corneal irregularities. The lens bridges the natural cornea and rests on the sclera, providing a constant reservoir of fluid that bathes the cornea, keeping it healthy and comfortable.
The underlying principle is a simple yet effective one. The space between the lens and the cornea filled with saline solution becomes an extension of the cornea, effectively changing the way light enters the eye. This modification can correct vision issues caused by corneal irregularities, dry eye syndrome, and other conditions that conventional contact lenses or glasses may fail to address adequately.
Scleral lenses can be an effective solution for a range of eye conditions. They can provide relief and improved vision for individuals who have been unsuccessful with other types of contact lenses or glasses. Some of the most common conditions that can benefit from scleral lenses include keratoconus, dry eye syndrome, and complications following eye surgery.
Keratoconus is a condition in which the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye, becomes thin and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape. This irregular shape causes light entering the eye to be deflected, leading to distorted and blurred vision. Scleral lenses can be particularly beneficial for individuals with keratoconus.
By vaulting over the irregularly shaped cornea and creating a smooth, regular surface for light to pass through, scleral lenses can significantly improve visual acuity in individuals with keratoconus. They can also offer a level of comfort that may not be achievable with other types of contact lenses.
The fluid reservoir that is a hallmark of scleral lenses can also contribute to corneal health in individuals with keratoconus. By providing constant hydration, the lenses can help to prevent the cornea from drying out, which can further exacerbate the symptoms of keratoconus.
Dry eye syndrome is a common condition characterized by insufficient tear production or poor quality tears that evaporate too quickly. Symptoms can include a feeling of dryness, grittiness, or a burning sensation in the eyes.
Scleral lenses can be a great benefit for individuals with this condition. Because they vault over the cornea and hold a reservoir of fluid against the eye, they can help to keep the surface of the eye hydrated throughout the day. This can alleviate the symptoms of dryness and discomfort associated with dry eye syndrome.
Scleral lenses can also promote a healthier ocular environment. By maintaining a constant layer of fluid against the eye, they can help to prevent further damage to the cornea that can occur as a result of chronic dryness.
Eye surgery, such as LASIK or corneal transplants, can sometimes result in complications including corneal irregularities or dryness. In these cases, scleral lenses can offer a solution for improved vision and comfort.
The unique design of scleral lenses makes them an ideal choice for managing post-surgical corneal irregularities. By creating a new, smooth ocular surface, scleral lenses can correct vision issues caused by corneal irregularities following surgery.
Additionally, the fluid-filled space between the lens and the cornea can provide a comfortable and hydrating environment for the healing eye, potentially reducing discomfort and promoting better overall eye health following surgery.
For athletes, vision is a critical part of performance. Scleral lenses can provide stable, clear vision, even under the rigorous conditions of sports play. Unlike regular contact lenses, scleral lenses are less likely to move around or fall out during physical activity, making them an excellent choice for athletes.
The constant hydration provided by the fluid reservoir can also help to keep athletes' eyes comfortable and well-lubricated, even in dry or dusty conditions. This can allow athletes to focus on their performance without being distracted by uncomfortable eyes or fluctuating vision.
Scleral lenses can be a great solution for a variety of eye conditions, from dry eye syndrome to keratoconus and post-surgical complications. They offer a combination of improved vision, comfort, and stability that can surpass other types of contact lenses or glasses.
However, it's important to remember that scleral lenses are a medical device and should be fitted by a qualified eye care professional. They are custom-made for each individual to ensure a proper fit and optimal vision correction.
If you've been struggling with your vision or eye comfort, scleral lenses could be the solution you've been looking for. Visit Studio Optix at our office in New York, New York, or call (212) 765-4444 to schedule an appointment today.