Advancements in contact lenses have been vast in recent years. Not only have the lens materials improved but fitting technologies have improved as well, making it possible to fit even the most difficult eyes in contact lenses.
For years, moderate to severe dry eye patients were not able to wear contact lenses at all. Now, it’s not uncommon to use specialty contact lenses in severe dry eye patients as a method to help heal the eye and keep it refreshed while also correcting the vision.
Traditionally, scleral lenses, or large diameter rigid lenses, have been reserved for eyes that are difficult to fit in contact lenses or eyes that have progressive degenerative corneal conditions. In fact, most contact lens professionals only reach for scleral lenses on patients with severely irregular corneas such as those eyes with keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration, post-surgical, or post-trauma corneal involvement.
With today’s designs, scleral lenses have quickly become one of my preferred lenses to use on just about anyone, especially those with less than ideal corneal integrity or corneal surface. Scleral lenses have been shown to improve comfort (even over soft lenses in some cases), improve contact lens stability and improve vision. They’ve also been shown to dramatically reduce glaring, distortion, and dryness.
Scleral lenses are remarkable in that, while they are in fact contact lenses, they don’t contact the cornea at all when fit well! These lenses completely vault the cornea and create a moisture chamber under the surface of the lens. This is what allows even the most distorted or degenerated cornea to be fit, and fit well! Scleral lenses effectively create a smooth, symmetrical and spherical surface to focus all the light rays coming into the eyes. This negates the distorted images that are produced by the distorted cornea when a scleral lens is not in place.
Specialty contact lenses, specifically scleral lenses, are one of the many specialties that Clarity Advanced Eyecare offers. For more information or to find out if Scleral Contacts are right for you, please contact Clarity Advanced Eyecare at 248-369-3300 or on the web at clarityadvancedeyecare.com.
Phillip Elston, OD, FAAO