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Scleral Contact Lenses

Custom-fit scleral lenses provide dramatic improvements in visual acuity and comfort levels to those with corneal irregularities due to LASIK eye surgery complications, keratoconus, astigmatism, dry eye, or other ocular conditions.Photo of contact lenses

Because they are larger than conventional GP lenses, scleral lenses are more stable on the eye. They also provide initial comfort similar to soft lenses.

If you want to wear contact lenses but have had trouble wearing them in the past — or you’ve been told you are not a good candidate for contacts — scleral contact lenses may be the solution you are looking for.

They are called “scleral” lenses because, instead of covering only a portion of the cornea (like conventional GP lenses), these large GP lenses vault over the entire corneal surface and rest on the “white” of the eye (the sclera).

Because of their size, scleral lenses are more stable on the eye than conventional GP lenses — so they are less likely to accidentally dislodge from the eye. This stability also can make them more comfortable than conventional GP lenses; scleral lenses provide initial comfort similar to soft lenses, especially for sensitive eyes or irregularly shaped corneas.
A scleral lens sits on the sclera of the eye and vaults over the cornea, virtually eliminating friction and discomfort. This “dome” creates a new optical surface to replace the damaged cornea.
Moreover, the reservoir of saline solution between the back the lens and the front of the cornea perpetually keeps the eye in a liquid environment, providing the ideal environment for ocular healing.

What Are The Advantages Of Wearing Scleral Lenses?

Scleral Lenses Provide More Comfort and Improved Vision

  • Sharper vision
  • Greater durability
  • Easier handling
  • Less risk of complications

Graphic pointing out cornea and scleral lens placement on the eye.

Who are Scleral Lenses For?

Anyone desiring to achieve the best vision with contact lenses is a great candidate for scleral lenses.
Scleral lenses are particularly helpful in managing the following conditions:

  • Keratoconus: Those with Keratoconus (keh-rah-toe-cone-us), an eye disorder in which the round dome-shaped cornea progressively thins and causes a cone-like bulge to develop, can massively benefit from wearing scleral lenses. Their irregular, cone-shaped corneas cannot be properly corrected using glasses or traditional contact lenses. Scleral lenses are therefore the ideal solution. They sit on the sclera without touching the cornea, while providing sharpness, clarity and comfort in vision.
  • Post-corneal transplant: A corneal transplant replaces diseased or scarred corneal tissue with a healthy cornea donated by a local eye bank. However, following a transplant, the cornea can become irregular and astigmatic. Scleral lenses are the safest and most comfortable way to correct for irregular astigmatism. Furthermore, following a corneal transplant, no part of the cornea should be touched with a contact lens. Scleral lenses are ideal in this case, as they vault over the cornea without touching it directly.
  • Dry Eyes: Those with Dry Eye Syndrome may find traditional contact lenses difficult to wear. However, given that scleral lenses contain a tear reservoir between the back of the lens and cornea, the front surface of the eye remains moist and comfortable all day long. This makes scleral lenses a great choice for Dry Eyes.
  • Hard-to-fit eyes: Patients with an irregularly shaped cornea, whether due to natural causes, an eye condition (i.e. keratoconus), or complications following surgery (such as LASIK), can at times develop vision problems which cannot be corrected using glasses or soft contact lenses. In such cases, scleral lenses provide a more comfortable, secure fit, and improved vision.

Scleral lenses also help manage the following eye conditions:

  • Astigmatism
  • Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC)
  • Post-refractive surgery (i.e. LASIK, PRK)
  • High presbyopia (farsightedness) and myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Ocular surface disease
  • Aphakia

Dr. Melissa Barnhart and the caring and knowledgeable staff at Franklin Park Vision provide advanced custom contact lens fitting for even the most hard-to-fit-patients.

Does Insurance Cover Scleral Lenses?

When it comes to scleral lenses, every insurance company is different. Some cover the examination and custom fitting, but not the actual lenses. Others may cover a portion of the cost or 100% of the cost, but only if other treatment methods have been exhausted. It’s important that you check with your specific insurance provider to understand the particulars of your scleral lens coverage.

If you are interested in seeing whether scleral lenses are right for you, make sure that the eye doctor you visit has the knowledge and experience required to correctly fit you for the lenses. Scleral lenses require precise customization, and every patient’s case varies in degrees of severity and corneal measurements.

Get advanced contact lens fittings by Dr. Melissa Barnhart at Franklin Park Vision.