What are scleral contact lenses?
Scleral contact lenses are larger diameter rigid gas permeable contact lenses. The sizes could range from 14mm to 18mm in diameter. Although the size is large, it provides good comfort since the edges of the contact lenses sit on the white part of the eye called the sclera.
A traditional rigid gas permeable contact lens sizes range from 8 mm to 10 mm in diameter and sits on the cornea where most sensitive nerve endings reside.
Who is a good candidate for scleral lenses?
Scleral lenses are indicated for patients with irregular cornea such as post- lasik, corneal transplant, Keratoconus, and pellucid marginal degeneration. They can also be used on regular cornea for patients with high astigmatism or dry eyes.
There are a variety of manufacturer that makes scleral lenses with different lens designs and materials. Our eye doctors will help determine which design would provide optimal fit. All of the materials available are FDA approved and provide ample oxygen flow to ensure proper corneal health.
Are scleral lenses typically covered by medical or vision insurance?
Our eye doctors will need to examine your eyes to determine if the eye condition diagnosis falls into a medical necessity category. If so, our office will request insurance approval for the procedure.
What are the benefits of Scleral Lenses over other kinds of Contact Lenses?
Scleral lenses provide good optics and comfort. Scleral lenses can be used to help manage patients who experience severe dry eyes with or without regular contact lenses.
How often should I replace my Scleral Contacts?
We recommend yearly replacement of scleral lenses to ensure a smooth surface, devoid of protein deposit, and to avoid unnecessary warpage caused by daily handling of the lenses.
Are different types of Scleral lenses used at earlier v. Later stages of the onset of Keratoconus?
No – Scleral lenses are custom-made to the optimally fit the eye – no matter the stage. However, in later stages, it is possible that scleral lenses may no longer provide adequate vision and a surgical consultation with a corneal specialist may be necessary.
Theatrical and Cosmetic use of Sclerals
Theatrical effects could be accomplished by scleral contact lenses. These are usually seen in movies portraying supernatural characters. Regardless of the cosmetic effects, fitting of these lenses have to be accomplished by trained eye doctors to ensure proper corneal health.
At what age can a child begin wearing Scleral Lenses?
As soon as a child is deemed responsible to take care of his or her belongings and help with daily chores at home, he or she can begin wearing scleral lenses. We also recommend parental supervision in the early training period.
What is the typical cost of Scleral lenses? Why are they higher cost than regular contacts?
Scleral lenses are custom-made lenses that require multiple fitting sessions and special handling instructions. Our eye doctors are specially trained to do this. Our office can also help you apply for Care Credit and the fees are also FSA eligible.
I have had issues in the past with contact lenses being uncomfortable, do you recommend Sclerals?
The most common complaint with soft contact lenses being uncomfortable is dryness. Since there is a saline bath in between the cornea and the contact lens, the cornea is hydrated while the scleral lens is being worn. Scleral contact lenses sit away from the cornea, aside from the nerve endings; they can be very comfortable.