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What Are Scleral Contact Lenses?

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Have you been told contact lenses are no longer an option because of the irregular shape or the dryness of your eyes? Well, with scleral lenses, a world without glasses may still be a possibility. Let’s discuss!

What are scleral contact lenses?

Scleral lenses are large diameter, rigid gas permeable contact lenses. These hard lenses rest on the sclera (the white part of your eye), and work by vaulting over the clear cornea (in the center of your eye) to create a tear reservoir that fills in any imperfection to the corneal surface. Scleral lenses range from 14-24 mm in size and are extraordinarily comfortable when fit properly. See, the sclera has a limited number of nerve endings, so patients do not feel the edges of the lenses if it rests correctly on the eye. Most patients report that a well fit scleral lens is the most comfortable lens they have ever worn! 

So how do you know if you need a scleral lens?

Good question. Technically any patient can wear a scleral lens but the patients who benefit most are those plagued by conditions of corneal irregularity. A non-exhaustive list of conditions include: keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration, corneal dystrophies, excessive corneal scarring, corneal transplants, severe dry eye syndrome, post-refractive surgery ectasia, and more. Conditions such as these make the appearance of the traditionally “dome” shaped cornea distorted and asymmetrical, which causes blurred vision and reduces visual clarity even through traditional contacts and glasses. A scleral lens improves the visual clarity through its design, specifically the tear reservoir that sits between the hard lens and the cornea itself. This tear reservoir fills in the corneal imperfections, ironing out irregularities to create a smooth surface, thus providing exceptional vision.

While scleral lenses are rising in popularity, what differentiates 2020 Eyecare from the rest is our use of a scleral topographer to map the sclera. This instrument is imperative to scleral lens fitting because most patients have asymmetrically shaped eyes, thus without it some patients fail to find a lens that properly fits their eye! The use of a scleral topographer allows us to create a lens that not only has the right power but also fits perfectly the patient’s eye. This leads to happier patients with better fit lenses, and less mandatory follow up appointments. That’s a win-win for everyone!

Please reach out if you think you might be interested in learning more about scleral lenses! Thank you for reading.

Written by Dr. David Williams O.D.

Dr. David J. Williams is originally from Columbus, OH, but made his initial voyage to Southwest Ohio for his undergraduate studies. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University, then attended The Ohio State University College of Optometry. He graduated as the recipient of the esteemed Patient Care Excellence Award in recognition for Exceptional Clinical Skills. After graduating, he moved to Cincinnati to begin practicing in private, commercial, and refractive surgical settings. While honing his clinical skills, Dr. Williams discovered a strong passion for business operations and team building that ultimately drove him back to school. He earned his MBA with a concentration in Finance. He utilized these skills to earn awards in practice excellence and service leadership before deciding to venture out and create 2020 Eyecare with Dr. Gibberman. Dr. Williams has a keen interest in specialty contact lens fitting, diagnosing and treating dry eye disease and glaucoma, and co-managing LASIK and PRK. He also enjoys providing comprehensive eye care for a host of diseases and ocular conditions, including diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, anterior uveitis, and other anterior segment conditions. In his free time, Dr. Williams enjoys spending time with his wife Grace, dog Barrett, golfing, reading non-fiction, watching The Ohio State Buckeyes beat up on other Big Ten Teams, and traveling the world.
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