Review of Optometry
Not all contact lenses are created equal. The most frequent type of contact lenses worn are soft contact lenses. Another common contact lens used includes rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses, which are small lenses created from a firm plastic material. Lastly, scleral contact lenses are similar to RGPs as they are also made from a firm plastic material. However, scleral lenses are larger in size to allow for greater stability on the eye resulting in better vision. Scleral lenses are also designed custom to each patient to provide the perfect fit, comfort and vision.
Scleral lenses are most commonly prescribed for those who have an irregular front surface of the eye, also known as the cornea. This irregularity can be due to conditions such as Keratoconus, high astigmatism, medical conditions that cause irregularity and those who have had corneal surgery or trauma. A scleral lens works by masking the front surface of the cornea allowing for a smooth surface in which to view through. A scleral lens also creates a liquid chamber between the lens and the front surface of your eye alleviating dryness. These lenses allow for better stabilization and stability compared to soft contact lenses and smaller RGP lenses.
Patients who have previously worn RGP lenses tend to appreciate the sharper vision compared to soft contacts. However, some RGP patients experience problems with their lenses including the RGP shifting inside the eye or popping out of their eye due to its small size. This can be very problematic for those who live an active lifestyle. Scleral lenses eliminate these problems by providing the quality of vision through RGP and the comfort of soft contact lenses. The design of the lens allows for better stability and improved comfort. Since these scleral lenses are larger than RGPs, they are less likely to pop out.
Patients suffering from dry eyes may also be a candidate for scleral lenses. Unlike soft contact lenses, the material that makes up scleral lenses do no dehydrate and worsen the dry conditions. As mentioned earlier, scleral lenses create a liquid chamber in the front of the eye and provide continuous lubrication throughout the day.
If you believe that you are a candidate for scleral contact lenses or would like to learn more about them, please do not hesitate to ask at your next appointment!