What are scleral lenses?
A scleral contact lens is a large rigid contact lens that rests on the sclera and creates a tear filled vault over the cornea. Scleral lenses are designed to treat a variety of eye conditions, many of which do not respond to other forms of treatment.
What are the advantages of scleral lenses?
Large-diameter lenses may be more comfortable for patients than corneal lenses. The conjunctiva (soft, clear tissue that lies over the sclera) is much less sensitive than the cornea (clear central tissue). Thus lenses that rest primarily or exclusively on the conjunctiva cause less sensation than smaller lenses that rest upon the cornea.
In some patients, corneal tissue is damaged or irregular. Scleral lenses trap a reservoir of fluid behind the lens, which protects the cornea. Regular corneal lenses can become decentered and move but since scleral and corneoscleral lenses extend under the upper and lower lids, they rarely dislocate.
Who could potentially benefit from scleral lenses?
Scleral lenses may be used to improve vision, reduce pain and light sensitivity for people suffering from growing number of corneal ectasias, post LASIK complications, dry eye, corneal transplants, and trauma. Corneal ectasias include keratoconus, keratoglobus, and, pellucid marginal degeneration. Scleral diseases can also be useful for severe dry eye diseases such as Steven Johnson syndrome and Sjrogrens syndrome.
Are scleral lenses new?
The concept of optically neutralizing the cornea with an enclosed liquid reservoir over its front surface was first proposed in 1508 by Leonardo da Vinci. Scleral lenses have been around since the 1800’s but due to lack of innovation of oxygen transmitting materials they did not become popular till the 1980’s. During this time the newer more breathable materials started to be used to successfully design and fit patients.