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What are Scleral Lenses?

Custom-fit scleral lenses help patients with corneal distortions and irregularities achieve dramatic improvements in visual acuity and comfort. Scleral lenses vault over the cornea and prevent discomfort by resting on the sclera so as not to place any pressure on the cornea. This creates a new optical surface to replace the distorted cornea. Moreover, the reservoir of pure saline solution between the back surface of the lens and the front of the cornea ensures that the eye is always in a liquid environment – making it optimal for healing.

Due to their size, scleral lenses are more stable on the eye than conventional GP lenses and are therefore less likely to accidentally dislodge from the eye. This stability makes them more comfortable, especially for sensitive eyes or irregularly shaped corneas. Moreover, all scleral lenses are made with highly breathable gas permeable material so that plenty of oxygen reaches the front of the eye, keeping it healthy and comfortable.

Types of Scleral Lenses

These three categories are based on the lenses’ size and primary contact with the surface of the eye.

  • Corneo-scleral lenses and semi-scleral lenses are significantly larger than traditional GP lenses and rest near the junction between the cornea and the sclera.
  • Mini-scleral lenses vault over the whole corneal surface and rest on the anterior sclera.
  • Full scleral lenses are the largest in size and provide the most clearance between the back surface of the lens and the cornea.

If you are interested, contact Vision Care Specialists Scleral Contact Lens Center to find out if scleral lenses are right for you. Our staff helps patients from all over Southborough and Worcester County, Massachusetts , and Dr. Levine will provide a comprehensive evaluation and the highest level of care.

Scleral Lenses Provide More Comfort and Improved Vision

Our patients report comfort as the most prominent feature of the scleral lens. Throughout the fitting process, we survey our patients on how the lenses feel, and not surprisingly, the usual feedback we get is “fine” or “I can’t feel them at all”.

Traditional contact lenses are much smaller, typically 9 -10 mm in diameter. With each blink, the contact lens moves a bit over the cornea and the lid tends to roll over the edge of the lens as well. Many patients report being unable to wear them for more than a few hours at a time due to the discomfort.

The scleral lens, on the other hand, is larger in diameter and spreads its weight over a much greater, less sensitive area so that when you blink the eyelid doesn’t catch the edge of the lens. Because the lens sits firmly on the eye, it offers more stable vision than traditional lenses. Moreover, having the lens vault over the cornea protects it from any abrasion caused by blinking or external irritants. It is made up of highly oxygen permeable materials and provides a soothing bath of artificial tears that refresh the ocular surface. Scleral lenses not only improve comfort but make for more stable vision.

Who is a Good Candidate for Scleral Lenses?

Anyone seeking to achieve the best vision with contact lenses is a great candidate for scleral lenses. That said, these lenses are particularly useful in managing the following conditions:

Hard-to-fit eyes: Those with an irregularly shaped cornea, whether due to natural causes, an eye condition (i.e. keratoconus), or complications following surgery, tend to develop vision problems which cannot be fully corrected using soft contact lenses, as the shape of their eye cause the lenses to easily dislodge. For those people, scleral lenses provide a more comfortable, secure fit and improved vision, which may be even better than glasses.

Any of the following conditions can make wearing traditional contact lenses more challenging:

  • Keratoconus
  • Astigmatism
  • Dry Eyes
  • Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC)
  • Post-refractive surgery (i.e. LASIK, PRK)
  • Presbyopia

Dry Eyes: Those with dry eyes may find traditional contact lenses difficult to wear. Scleral lenses provide a tear reservoir between the back surface of full scleral lenses and the cornea, keeping the front of your eye moist and comfortable.

Cute Happy Children Hugging 1280×853Can Children Wear Scleral Lenses?

Young children (over 6 months of age) with an ocular surface disease or severe dry eyes can benefit from wearing full scleral lenses, as they need to protect as much of the eye as possible.

Mini-scleral lenses, typically ranging from 15.0mm to 18.0mm in size, and are a great choice for young children with normal corneas and high refractive errors or for those who have irregular corneas such as keratoconus. Mini-scleral are also great for kids who are intolerant to corneal GP lenses and want the comfort of a soft contact lens.

What happens during scleral lens fitting?

We carefully map the patient’s cornea using the latest corneal topography equipment. This generates a detailed diagram of your cornea, which is used to make customized scleral contact lenses.

How difficult is it to insert and care for scleral lenses?

Initially, inserting scleral lenses can be challenging. But after a short period, and thorough training by the optometrist, inserting and removing contact lenses becomes habitual. Scleral lenses are very durable, easy to handle and are easy to care for once the patient is well trained.

What Changes Will I Notice with Scleral Lenses?

Once you have been properly fitted for scleral lenses, you can expect to gradually see improvements in clarity, color and detailed contrast between multiple images and objects within your visual field. The comfort you’ll experience will enable you to wear your custom-made scleral lenses all day long so that you can keep doing all the things you love – but with better vision.

Watch this video to learn how easy and comfortable they are to insert, remove, and wear all day.

When Should I See An Eye Doctor Specializing in Scleral Lenses?

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.

Experts in scleral lenses, Dr. Levine and the attentive staff at Vision Care Specialists Scleral Contact Lens Center will ensure that you receive top-notch eye care for all your vision needs.

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. To understand the coverage and fees you can contact us or check with your specific insurance provider to understand the particulars.

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Who Wears Scleral Lenses?

The Practice Name Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center, Providing Scleral Lenses for Patients From Massachusetts

Scleral lenses are traditionally used for patients with keratoconus and vision correction after eye surgery, but today, eye doctors utilize modern scleral lenses to treat many other eye conditions and disorders. Many of Dr. Levine‘s patients who were previously unable to wear contact lenses or struggled with prescription eyeglasses can now experience comfortable, superior vision through scleral lenses.

What Are Scleral Lenses?

Close up of hazel eyeScleral lenses are specially-designed contact lenses, which are used to manage various eye diseases and visual conditions. These lenses hold artificial tears in a small area of the lens, like a tiny pool. The cornea coated with artificial tears remains moisturized for longer stretches of time than basic contact lenses. Scleral lenses have a larger diameter than traditional lenses.

This allows them to easily sit over a larger area of the eye without touching the cornea, ultimately increasing the patient’s comfort level. This can be especially helpful for patients who have had a corneal transplant since the cornea takes time to heal – up to one year – and is particularly sensitive during recovery time.

Because each patient’s vision, prescription needs, and corneal shape are different, scleral lenses are tailor-made for your specific case. Our scleral lens patients enjoy improved visual clarity and sharper focus.

Benefits Of Wearing Scleral Lenses

Scleral lenses from The Vision Care Specialists Scleral Contact Lens Center Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center have many advantages over traditional lenses. Our patients enjoy wearing them for their:

  • Comfort: Scleral lenses’ larger size and high-quality materials offer a greater level of comfort. The rigid materials allow for a round, smooth shape that gently sits over the eye and stay put, even with a lot of movement. Most patients can wear them comfortably for up to 14 hours.
  • Consistency: Patients with irregular or misshapen corneas may find it difficult to wear soft contact lenses since they sit directly on the cornea. Sclerals reach over to the sclera (white part of the eye), avoiding the cornea completely.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Although scleral lenses usually cost more than basic soft lenses, they provide longer-term financial value. If your vision insurance plan includes contact lenses, the cost will be significantly reduced. Unlike traditional soft lenses, there is no need to continuously purchase lens solution and replacement lenses every few months. In the long run, it’s better value for your money.
  • Durability: Scleral lenses’ rigid materials are breathable for proper air flow and long-lasting wear. Soft contact lenses, on the other hand, when overused, can lead to eye infections or worse!
  • Sharper Vision: The smooth ocular surface functions as a replacement for the cornea, resulting in sharper, clearer vision. Like a camera focuses on the fine details of an image, sclerals give you improved visual acuity and sharp focus.
  • Tailor-Made for YOU: No two patients are alike, and neither are the shapes of their eyes. Each person’s cornea has unique curves and contours. Those with corneal irregularities require a more customized, custom-fitting to ensure the best fit for visual clarity. To do so, Dr. Levine will create a digital map of your cornea through a process called “corneal topography”. The doctor uses a computerized system to take exact measurements of the cornea. This process ensures that the scleral lenses will allow the right amount of light in, giving you superior vision.

Scleral Lenses For Eye Disorders And Diseases

Scleral lenses are often used to treat eye diseases and conditions including:

Scleral Lenses for Astigmatism

  • High levels of refractive error, a condition where the eyes can’t focus clearly on images or objects. The most common types of refractive errors are myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism.
  • Corneal Dystrophy, a rare genetic eye disorder that causes material buildup in the cornea.
  • Post Cataract Surgery
  • Corneal trauma, such as abrasions or scratches to the eye
  • Pellucid marginal corneal degeneration, a rare, degenerative eye condition, which makes the cornea gradually thin out, resulting in a slow decline of visual functions
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), a rare, but serious condition usually caused by a reaction to infection or medication, causing blisters externally and internally, including red, watery and sore eyes

If you suffer from any of these diseases or their symptoms, speak with our helpful staff at The Vision Care Specialists Scleral Contact Lens Center Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center. Let us help you live a higher quality of life with better, more comfortable vision.

Girl closing eyes, smelling flowerScleral Lenses For Eye Allergies

Do you have allergic reactions to pollen, dust particles, smoke, or pet dander? If you have persistent red, itchy, watery and sore eyes, scleral lenses may help. Because they cover a large area of the eye, they can ease some of your allergy symptoms. That’s because the outer layer of the lens protects the eye surface, so dust and pollen can’t reach it. While not a complete barrier against airborne allergens, scleral lenses can minimize the reactions to these allergens, giving you more relief.

Are Regular Contact Lenses Not Working For You?

Maybe your regular lenses are uncomfortable, maybe your eyes are dry and itchy, or maybe your vision isn’t as clear as you’d like it to be. If you’ve tried standard soft contact lenses and you still experience blurry or distorted vision, it may be time to try something else. Even if you’ve been told that your cornea isn’t suitable for contacts, don’t give up – you may be a great candidate for scleral lenses. Talk to Dr. Levine about a consultation for sclerals. A detailed eye exam and medical history may be done in order to determine the best course of action for you.

Contact Us

Ready to get fitted for scleral lenses or need more information? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Levine and we’ll help find the best solution to treat your condition. Contact The Vision Care Specialists Scleral Contact Lens Center Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center today and let us help you get the proper care and visual clarity you deserve.

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Scleral Lenses for Astigmatism

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