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Where Do Scleral Lenses Fit Into Your Dry Eye Treatment Protocol?

Dry Eye Syndrome is a highly common eye condition. In fact, it remains one of the top reasons that drive patients to seek help from eye care professionals trained in treating dry eyes. Today, there is increasing awareness about this eye condition among both the general public and eye practitioners.

A recent survey revealed that out of the more than 30 million Americans who have symptoms of Dry Eye, only 16 million are diagnosed. Surprisingly, just 1 million out of these patients receive medical attention. These numbers are a concern, since there are millions of people suffering needlessly.

Woman Tired, Blue Eyes

Dry Eye Disease: Signs And Symptoms

Dry Eye Syndrome can negatively affect a patient’s quality of life in many ways. Common signs and symptoms include:

Common Signs And Symptoms
  • Blurred vision
  • Crusty eyelids
  • Dryness
  • Grittiness
  • Itchy eyes
  • Redness
  • Stinging
  • Tearing
Other Indications
  • Burning
  • Intense ocular pain
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Sensation of something in the eye

The patient may also experience distortion or visual fluctuation.

When Should Scleral Lenses Be Incorporated?

Fortunately, scleral lenses can help provide relief to patients suffering from Dry Eye. However, the common concern is deciding on the right time to incorporate scleral lenses into a dry eye treatment plan.

Scleral Lenses

Due to their large shape, unique features, and customized fitting for each patient, scleral lenses offer an excellent solution for dry eyes.

People suffering from severe dry eyes can find benefits from transitioning to custom designed scleral lenses. Scleral lenses tackle three factors simultaneously: they provide vision correction, they protect the eye, and they serve a therapeutic purpose by lubricating the eye. 

Scleral lenses also decrease pain, discomfort, eye redness, and itchiness in those with dry eyes. 

Scleral Lenses Should Not Be the Primary Treatment Method

Despite their countless benefits, scleral lenses should not be the primary therapy or treatment method for patients with mild to moderate dry eye syndrome. Eye practitioners often advise to try out additional treatment options for optimal outcomes. 

Other Treatment Options

Other Dry Eyes treatment methods include: 

  • Environment modifications
  • Eyelid hygiene
  • Nighttime goggles
  • Nighttime lubrication
  • Prescription dry eye medications
  • Preservative-free eyedrops

young woman wearing scleral lenses

Scleral Lenses in Southborough As A Tertiary Therapy

Scleral lenses should only serve as tertiary therapy, after overnight treatment options and prescription medications such as moisture goggles or ointment have been used. However, scleral lenses should be incorporated before the long-term use of steroids, surgical punctal occlusion, and amniotic membrane grafts.

Some of the other tertiary therapies that can be recommended alongside scleral lenses include:

  • Autologous/allogenic serum eye drops
  • Oral secretagogues
  • Soft bandage contact lenses

Like scleral lenses, these treatment procedures are highly effective. However, they should only be used if the primary and secondary therapies fail to improve the patient’s Dry Eye condition.

woman holding contact lens

Scleral Lenses vs. Daily Contacts for Dry Eyes

At times, an eye care professional may recommend daily disposable contact lenses for patients with a Dry Eye condition. These daily contacts are single-use lenses, which can be disposed of and replaced with a fresh pair the next morning.

However, for certain patients, traditional soft contact lenses are not an option, as the lenses sit right on the cornea, which can be very irritating for dry eye patients. Moreover, they tend to act as sponges, soaking up the moisture from the surface of the eye. Wearing soft contact lenses can, therefore, prove to be virtually unbearable for the dry eye patient.

Scleral lenses, on the other hand, are comfortable since they vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, thus avoiding the sensitive cornea.

Moreover, the zone between the surface of the cornea and the scleral lens is filled with a saline solution. This acts as a constant source of hydration for the eye and provides ongoing relief for the dry eye patient.

beautiful woman wearing winter stylish contact lens

Scleral Lenses For Sjorgen’s, MGD, And Severe Dry Eye

Severe Dry Eye can be caused by medical conditions such as Sjögren’s syndrome or Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).

Scleral Lenses Offer An Alternative Treatment Method

For those who have been unsuccessful with traditional treatment options for their condition, scleral lenses can offer an excellent alternative.  The scleral lens lodges across the corneal surface of your eyes, resting on the white part of the eye, known as the sclera. A liquid fills the space between the back of the lens and the eye surface, which protects the cornea, continuously bathing the sensitive corneal tissue and providing comfort for those with dry eyes.

 

Dry Eye Treatment Plans To Help Patients Improve Vision

Today, there is increasing number of eye physicians who now incorporate Dry Eye management and treatment strategies into their practices.

Although there are lectures, seminars, and hands-on workshops on Dry Eye treatments and ocular surface disease, scleral lenses are seldom talked about as a viable therapy or treatment procedure. Optometrists and ophthalmologists are encouraged to research and consider the use of scleral lenses. 

Contact Our Southborough Eye Clinic Today!

Contact us if you notice any pain or discomfort with your eyes. will be available to answer any of your questions and concerns. An amazing experience awaits you at our office.

Serving Patients From:

Other Specialty Contact Lens Fittings In Southborough

Our practice specializes in custom contact lens fittings for a wide range of specialty contact lenses. This includes:

  • Gas permeable (GP) and rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses
  • Multifocal contact lens fitting for presbyopia and myopia
  • Soft daily lenses for moderate dry eye, discomfort, and eye allergies
  • Scleral lenses for patients with keratoconus, corneal scarring, severe dry eyes, corneal transplants, and irregular astigmatism.

Dr. Levine successfully helped patients from all over Massachusetts including Southborough, Worcester County, Boston, Providence

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