Whether you just had eye surgery, have chronic eye problems, or are looking to get new contacts, there is a good chance you have at least once heard of scleral contact lenses. These are specialized lenses that are custom designed to fit their owner’s eyes in a way that they rest at the junction of their cornea and sclera. Hence they provide full coverage and multiple benefits to those suffering from certain optical issues. Here is a guide for all you need to know about sclera contact lenses.
What Are Scleral Contact Lenses?
In simple words, sclera contact lenses are lenses that are slightly larger than regular contacts. To be specific, they usually lie between 14.5 mm to 24 mm in diameter, which is much larger than the standard 9 to 9.5 mm diameter of regular contact lenses.
They cover more than just the cornea of the human eye and usually span over to the sclera (the white part) of the eye.
The human cornea is usually about 11.8 mm in diameter, so even the sclera contact lenses can easily cover it all.
Types Of Sclera Contact Lenses
Depending on the size, sclera contact lenses are divided into two types which include
- Mini sclera contact lenses have a diameter of about 14.5 to 18mm. They cover the cornea and the anterior sclera.
- Corneo-scleral or semi scleral lenses are usually 13 to 15mm in diameter. They typically end right where the sclera begins. So they lie at the part where the sclera and the cornea join.
- Full sclera contact lenses are the biggest lenses that reach up to 24mm and cover almost the entires sclera of the eye.
Benefits Of Wearing Scleral Contact Lenses
1. Helps With Keratoconus
Keratoconus is an eye disease that targets the structure of the cornea. It causes loss of vision.
Sclera contact lenses are prescribed to patients with this problem to help. Normal lenses can be hard to fit onto the eyes of people with keratoconus and may cause discomfort. This is why doctors recommend that they use sclera contact lenses that will easily cover their cornea and help them see better.
Scleral contacts are more comfortable to wear because they rest on the sclera, and they also have little to no movement between blinks. Hence, they are a relatively much better option than regular GP (glass permeable) lenses.
2. Comfortable To Wear
Sclera contact lenses are designed to stabilize your vision as much as possible. They won’t move when you blink and will rest comfortably due to their large diameter. This makes them ideal for those with any kind of corneal irregularities.
They do not rest on the cornea but on the junction between the cornea and the sclera.
They also do not irritate the eyes. Hence people that already have severely damaged eyes can wear them easily without any risks.
In addition to that, they are also much less likely to pop out because of their size.
This makes them dependable and means you can consistently enjoy a stable vision even when you move around a lot.
3. Better Vision
These lenses also help their users attain a more accurate peripheral vision thanks to their larger size, all the while providing better protection against sunlight and glares.
4. Useful For People With Dry Eyes
People who suffer from having dry eyes are also usually prescribed sclera contact lenses. Another benefit of these lenses is that these lenses are a convenient solution for people with chronic dry eyes. These lenses help to lock in moisture on the cornea by creating a pocket of moisturizing saline solution continuously lubricating the eyes.
Due to this lubrication, people with dry eyes can feel more comfortable, and their eyes are also protected better.
That’s not all! Since the sclera contact lenses rest on the sclera rather than the cornea and do not move about, they minimize the chances of damaging the cornea by scrapping. Hence, not only is their eye health improved overall, but they are also protected better.
5. Helps With Astigmatism
These lenses are also known to help with astigmatism, even where other contacts cannot help. Sclera contacts can correct the vision of individuals suffering from high astigmatism.
6. Other Eye Problems That Scleral Contact Lenses Help With
Aside from the above-mentioned issues, there are a variety of other optical problems that can be solved or, at the very least, made better using sclera contact lenses.
These include the following.
- Sclera contacts are often used by patients after optical surgeries to avoid any post-surgery complications.
- Aside from keratoconus, people with any other corneal irregularities or any other eye deformities can also use these lenses to correct their visions.
- People with burn injuries to the eye or ocular trauma can also benefit from these lenses.
- People who are not comfortable using regular GP lenses can resort to these for a more comfortable experience.
- Those that have suffered from severe refractive errors are also recommended to use sclera contact lenses.
7. Low Risks
Following the proper instructions and maintenance procedures, the number of risks involved with using sclera contact lenses is generally very low. Hence they are perfectly safe to use.
Since sclera contact lenses serve more purposes and are bigger, they generally cost more upfront, but that is not to say that they are not worth it. The high-quality materials that make up these lenses make them last much longer than average lenses. This makes them much more cost-effective in the long run too. Where you might have to replace other lenses soon, your sclera contact lenses are here to stay and will make up for the high initial cost.
Thus if you have any of these eye problems or you want to switch to these lenses for the added comfort, you should consult your doctor and be prescribed these lenses. It might help enhance the quality of your life and your visual experience of the world.