By: Dr. Nathan Klein:
For more than half a century, contact lenses have offered crisper, sharper and clearer vision compared to glasses. Unfortunately, many individuals simply could not wear contact lenses comfortably due to irritation, dryness, excessive lens movement, or achy eyes after limited lens wear. There is wonderful news for everyone who would like to wear contact lenses, but had trouble wearing them in the past, or were previously not good candidates for contacts! Scleral lenses are the most exciting and dramatic breakthrough in the past few decades in the realm of contact lenses by offering many of these patients the chance to become regular contact lens wearers! The vast majority of patients who have previously been unhappy or uncomfortable with contact lenses can now comfortably obtain sharper vision, greater lens wearing time, easier handling, and for less risk of complications with the amazing advancements of scleral contact lenses.
Scleral contact lenses dramatically enhance quality of vision and eliminate pain and light sensitivity for people suffering with:
Irregular or excessive astigmatism corneal ectasia
Difficulties following LASIK, RK. history of corneal transplant surgery
Scleral contacts lenses are noticeably larger in size. Their weight does not rest on the actual cornea, like a gas permeable or hard contact lens, but rather it rests on the sclera, which is the white part of the eye, and vaults over the cornea. This gives the patient a much better level of comfort while wearing the lenses, since the sclera is a lot less sensitive compared to the cornea. The lens is also filled with non-preserved saline solution prior to insertion. This setup, with the large scleral lens and the saline solution, creates a new equilibrium for the cornea, and typically allows the patient to have clearer, more comfortable vision.
As mentioned, patients with any type of corneal irregularity, such as keratoconous, corneal transplants, complications from LASIK, RK, or other corrective surgeries are typically great candidates for scleral contact lenses. In addition, many patients suffering from dry eye disease can now comfortably wear moist scleral lenses all day to alleviate the symptoms of chronic dry eye. Finally, many patients were previously limited by the contours of contact lenses, such as those that are nearsighted, have astigmatism, and need extra help to read, called presbyopia. Since all scleral lenses are customized for each and every patient, these patients can have a custom crafted lens that will maximize each patient’s vision at every distance and visual demand. Scleral contact lenses are an amazing breakthrough in offering outstanding vision and comfort!
Dr. Nathan Klein and Dr. Alan Mendelsohn are eye physicians practicing at Eye Surgeons & Consultants, Hollywood, FL