What Are Scleral Contact Lenses?
Scleral Lenses are a specialty contact lens that covers the entire corneal surface (or sclera) of the eye, rather than just the cornea as conventional contacts do. These gas permeable (GP) lenses offer the same advantages as other contact lenses:
- Sharper Vision
- Strong Durability
- Easy Handling
- Low Complications Risk
Because Scleral Lenses cover the full surface of the eye, they are very stable and have low probability of dislodging. They provide similar comfortability to soft lenses, due to a layer of saline solution suspended between the contact and the eye surface.
Types of Scleral Contact Lenses
Scleral Lenses are divided into three categories, based on the size and location of the lens. All three types are made of rigid, gas permeable materials to allow oxygen to reach the surface of the eye, and differ only in where the lenses make contact with the surface of the eye:
- Mini Scleral Lenses – these are suspended above the corneal surface and rest on the anterior sclera.
- Corneo-Scleral Lenses and Semi Scleral Lenses – these are larger than traditional contact lenses and rest around the area between the cornea and sclera.
- Full Scleral Lenses – these are the largest Scleral Lenses, and are suspended the furthest from the surface of the cornea, resting on the sclera.
Scleral Contact Lenses
Anyone considering contact lenses may be a suitable candidate for scleral lenses. Patients of almost all ages have been successfully fitted with scleral lenses, limited only by the size of the patient’s eyes and their ability to insert/remove them safely. If you are not a good candidate for conventional contact lenses, scleral lenses may be a suitable solution. They are ideal for individuals with:
- Certain corneal diseases (Keratoconus, etc.) or irregular corneas – the space between the lens and the surface of the eye provides a unique solution for those who cannot use traditional contacts, due to corneas with an irregular curvature, scars, and other irregularities in the cornea surface.
- Dry or sensitive eyes – the space between the lens and the cornea is filled with a saline solution, which can act as a sort of tear reservoir that can be soothing to dry or easily irritates eyes.