Scleral lenses are one of the most versatile specialty contact lenses known to offer higher degrees of clarity and comfort than standard contact lenses. These lenses provide many benefits, such as improved eye health and reduced glare and halos can help reduce the need for surgical intervention.
Some patients may experience discomfort, but it is rare and easily treated with proper fitting and management.
Understanding Scleral Lenses
Scleral lenses are large, gas-permeable contact lenses that vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera (the white part of the eye). They often treat corneal irregularities such as keratoconus and corneal ectasia. Scleral lenses also manage severe dry eye and other ocular surface diseases.
Scleral lenses are larger than traditional contact lenses and create a tear-filled reservoir between the lens and the cornea. This reservoir provides a smooth optical surface for the eye, offering stable and crystal-clear vision.
Causes of Scleral Lens Discomfort
Scleral lenses are considered one of the most comfortable lenses available, with a lower statistical rate of discomfort or complications. Though rare, these are some of the causes of discomfort while wearing scleral lenses.
Lens Fit: Scleral lenses must fit properly to provide maximum benefits. If the lens is too tight or loose, it can cause discomfort or irritation. An improper-fitting lens can also affect vision and increase the risk of corneal damage.
Debris Under the Lens: Debris, such as dust or eyelashes, can become trapped under the scleral lens, which can be uncomfortable and lead to corneal abrasions.
Lens Deposits: Over time, scleral lenses can develop deposits that can cause discomfort. Additional problems can arise because the deposits can affect the lens’ fit.
Scleral Lenses: Basic to Advanced Troubleshooting
10 Tips for Managing Scleral Lens Discomfort
If you experience discomfort while wearing scleral lenses, here are some tips that may help:
Keep Your Lenses Clean: Regularly cleaning your lenses can reduce the chance of deposits and debris building up on your lenses. Make sure they are cleaned using a recommended cleaning solution, and then rinse them with a saline solution before inserting them into your eyes.
Ensure Proper Lens Fit: Having the correct fit for your scleral lenses is essential. Contact your optometrist to check the fit if you experience discomfort or other issues.
Use eye drops: Using eye drops can help lubricate the eyes if you suffer from dry eyes. Applying lubricating drops is an effective way to reduce discomfort and prevent the lens from exacerbating the problem. Not every eye drop is suitable for scleral wearers, so be sure to check with your optometrist before using any over-the-counter or prescription eye drops.
Wear Eye Protection: Wear protective eyewear to prevent eye damage if you work in a dusty or hazardous environment.
Consider switching solutions: If you suspect you have an allergic reaction to your lens solution that is causing discomfort, consider switching to a different solution. Your optometrist can recommend a suitable alternative.
Replace Your Lenses Regularly: Scleral contact lenses last anywhere from several months to 3 years, but it is crucial to replace them as needed. Your optometrist will give you a replacement schedule based on your specific needs.
Take a break: If you experience significant discomfort, consider taking a break from wearing your lenses. Let your eyes rest and recover before putting the lenses back in. If discomfort persists, consult your optometrist.
Don’t Wear Your Lenses Overnight: Always remove your lenses before bed. Wearing them overnight can cause dryness, irritation, and even eye damage.
Don’t Use Tap Water: Never use tap water to rinse your lenses. Tap water can contain harmful bacteria that can cause infections and other eye problems.
Don’t Ignore Discomfort: If your lenses are causing discomfort or irritation, remove them immediately and contact your eye doctor. Ignoring discomfort can lead to more severe eye problems.
Our team at The Eye Studio is committed to providing you with the best eye care possible. We will be happy to answer your questions or concerns about how to care for your lenses for maximum comfort and visual acuity.
Our practice serves patients from Portland, Beaverton, Vancouver, and Hillsboro, Oregon and surrounding communities.