There is a revolution happening in the field of gas permeable contact lenses: Scleral Contact Lenses represents an update of the original design that was created over 75 years ago. With this contact lens technology, we are able to help patients who have previously not been able to wear contact lenses comfortably, and those whose vision was not successfully corrected by contacts. Now, with scleral lenses, we can provide comfortable contact lenses and enhanced vision, to a point has never been seen before with gas permeable technology.
- What Are Scleral Contact Lenses?
- What Does Gas Permeable Lens Mean for Contact Lenses and Scleral Lenses?
- Scleral Contact Lens Fitting
With this new scleral lens technology, the lenses don’t touch the cornea at all. Instead, the contact lens rests on the less sensitive section of the eye called the sclera. Patients now have extreme comfort and fantastic vision. Those patients who have irregular cornea and patients who have dry eye, who haven’t been able to wear any contacts in the past successfully, can now wear contact lenses. This is a fantastic opportunity for patients to be given another chance wear contact lenses all day, comfortably and safely, and visually it’s fantastic.
Nowadays, all contact lenses, soft and even semi rigid contact lenses which we are referring to, allow oxygen to permeate through the little pores in the contact lens. These pores allow the atmospheric oxygen from the outside to get through the material that the contact lens is made of – we call that rigid gas permeable material – and then bathe the eye with oxygen. We grade certain contact lenses according to the porosity in a sense, or the transmission of how much oxygen can get through the little pores of the contact lens to let the eye breathe.
We might not think of the eye as needing to breathe, but it does need air to function properly. When stifled, the surface of the eye becomes irritated and it negatively impacts vision and comfort. This is one of the main challenges to producing good contact lenses.
Scleral contact lenses, which were previously not able to be made in a sufficiently porous material, are now manufactured using the latest technology in materials, allowing the eye to breathe and get enough oxygen for all-day wear. It’s a new unique combination of comfort fitting on the eye and the right material.
With scleral lenses, there is a different technology and a different philosophy in terms of the way that the doctor has to prescribe the lens and fit the lens. We keep a few trial sets in our office to trial fit and trial design a lens on a patient’s eye, and then we can have the lenses custom ordered. Scleral contact lenses are not something that can be bought out of a box or ordered online. They have to be custom designed and engineered for each person individually.
Anyone who has previously been unsuccessful with contact lenses is a candidate for a scleral contact lens fitting. So if you have had discomfort or dryness wearing contact lenses, we welcome you to try this new design. People who have been told they could not wear contact lenses in the past have been very successful with scleral contact lenses. Contact lenses for irregular corneas are a reality; comfortable contacts for dry eyes are here. Anyone who has had to stop wearing contacts due to allergies, high astigmatism, corneal degenerations or dystrophies: scleral contact lenses are designed to give these people a new chance of wearing contacts.
The reaction to a successful fitting of a scleral lens: It’s awesome. I, personally, have had, every time I’ve prescribed it and put a scleral lens on a patient, they are so surprised by how incredibly comfortable they are, and the quality of vision is just so mind-blowing. They just cannot believe how wonderful it is. So it is a very moving and exasperating experience, truly, to see these patients having better vision with comfort that they perhaps have never achieved. It is wonderful from a practitioner’s standpoint to see this. We previously weren’t able to give this kind of opportunity to patients, and now we can offer them scleral contact lenses. It’s really awesome.
For more information about contact Lenses, visit our Long Island eye doctor.