Dry Eyes and Scleral Contact Lenses
Byline: Thomas Lambert, O.D.
Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is a very common condition that affects people of all ages and ethnicities. DES is considered a multifactorial condition, meaning that there are multiple causes to the dryness. While some of the common causes of DES are using electronic devices and changes in the seasons, it can also be caused by underlying health conditions, such as autoimmune disorders. For some, dry eyes can be chronic, causing problems with irritation, itchy eyes, or blurred vision. When your standard over-the-counter drop does not give enough relief to some of these symptoms, scleral contact lenses could be a great option to help.
Scleral contact lenses are hard lenses made from a special type of plastic. They are different from the standard rigid gas permeable (RGP), or rather hard contact, in that they rest on the sclera (white part of the eye) rather than the cornea (front surface of the eye) like most other types of contact lenses. Since sclerals rest on the white of the eye, they are slightly larger than the average soft contact lens. However, this helps with comfort of the lenses due to there being less sensitivity on the sclera. The lens is dome-shaped like a bowl and is filled with saline solution that creates a liquid reservoir for the cornea. The lens is inserted and removed using a specific type of plunger.
Artificial tears can be a great starting point for someone experiencing dry eye but sometimes can only give limited relief. Scleral lenses are a great option for those experiencing moderate to severe dry eye when other conventional methods have not helped. They can provide longer relief for symptoms of DES due to the saline solution bathing the cornea throughout the day. This keeps the cornea constantly hydrated and therefore, less susceptible to changes from DES such as keratitis (inflammation of the cornea).
In addition to treating DES, these lenses are also used to correct irregular astigmatism, which can be caused by corneal diseases such as keratoconus. For these patients, sclerals can provide better visual acuities than glasses. The lenses are adjusted to the prescription using corneal mapping techniques and are fitted uniquely to the curvature of the patient’s eye. Usually, the fitting process takes longer for sclerals, but only because the lens is custom-made.
At VIP Eye Care & Optical Boutique, we are excited to offer these customized lenses for our patients. Having dry eyes can sometimes be very irritating, and it can take time to find the right regimen that works for you. If you feel you could benefit from scleral lenses or would like to discuss this option, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at our Carillon office or my colleagues at our 4th Street office.
VIP Eyecare & Optical Boutique (Carillon)
12425 28th St #103, St. Petersburg, FL 33716
VIP Eye Care & Optical Boutique (4th Street)
2201 4th St N Suite A, St. Petersburg, FL 33704
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VIP Eye Care & Optical Boutique
2201 4th St. N. Suite A
St. Petersburg, Fl. 33704
727 894-0500 Cell 727 424-2040
VIP Eye Care & Optical Boutique at Carillon
12425 28th St. N. Suite 103
St. Petersburg, Fl. 33716
Tampa Bay’s Most Awarded Optical