Scleral lenses are large-diameter rigid gas permeable lenses that help individuals see better if their vision is decreased by corneal diseases or, dry eyes, or they are unable to wear other forms of contacts to correct refractive error. Corneal diseases like keratoconus and pellucid marginal degeneration cause irregularities in the surface of the eye. Scleral lenses compensate for these irregularities by vaulting over misshapen cornea and mimic a smooth surface to provide clearer vision.
Some patients have severe dry eyes from keratoconjunctivitis sicca, graft versus host disease (GVHD), Sjogren’s syndrome, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, or neurotrophic keratopathy that cause poor stability in their tears. Scleral lenses provide a therapeutic effect by lubricating the cornea to help minimize dry eye symptoms. Lastly, some individuals who have had post-surgical refractive complications from RK (Radial Keratotomy) and/or LASIK or simply cannot tolerate corneal gas permeable lenses are great candidates for scleral lenses to help them see more clearly.
Because scleral lenses are designed to rest on the sclera, the white outer layer of the eyeball, and not on a cornea, it causes little to no lens movement during blinks and often are found to be more comfortable than traditional corneal gas permeable lenses. Usually sizes vary from 15mm to 18mm in diameter. They are a wonderful option for patients.