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What Are Scleral Contact Lenses?

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A kit containing scleral contacts and a hand holds a tool for inserting and removing contact lenses.

Scleral contacts are an alternate type of contacts that rest on the scleral or white part of the eyes for increased comfort and can offer an array of benefits for those who have astigmatism, presbyopia, dry eye syndrome, or other vision-related issues.  

Although these lenses are relatively new on the market, they’ve been gaining popularity due to their ability to comfortably correct vision without causing any irritation. We’ll discuss the different types of scleral contact lenses available and their benefits.

Benefits of Scleral Contact Lenses

Scleral contact lenses offer multiple benefits, including comfortable wear, eye health, longer wear time, protection, peripheral vision, and a customized fit.

Comfortable Wear

Scleral lenses are known for their comfortable fit. They vault over the entire cornea, resting on the sclera (the white part of the eye), which reduces irritation and discomfort often experienced with smaller contact lenses.

Eye Health

Scleral lenses are made of rigid gas-permeable material, allowing oxygen to reach the cornea. This promotes better eye health by reducing the risk of hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) and limiting the buildup of deposits on the lens surface.

Longer Wear Time

Due to their increased oxygen permeability and moisture retention, scleral lenses can be worn for extended periods without discomfort. This makes them suitable for people who require all-day lens wear.

Protection & Stability

Scleral lenses act as a protective barrier, shielding the eyes from dust, debris, allergens, and environmental irritants. Their stable fit ensures that the lenses stay in place during physical activities or sports.

Peripheral Vision

The wide optic zones of scleral lenses provide enhanced peripheral vision compared to traditional lenses. This can be particularly beneficial for athletes and individuals who require optimal visual performance.

Customized Fit

Scleral lenses are individually designed to match the unique contours of each person’s eyes. This custom fitting process helps promote comfort, optimal vision correction, and reduced lens movement.

A detailed shot of a woman using contact lenses. Scleral lenses can be a beneficial choice for individuals experiencing dry eyes.

Who Should Wear Scleral Lenses?

Scleral contact lenses can benefit a wide range of contact lens wearers.

  • Those with Difficulty Achieving Adequate Vision: If you have struggled to achieve clear vision with glasses or traditional contact lenses, scleral lenses might be a viable option for you.
  • Moderate to Severe Astigmatism: Individuals with moderate to severe astigmatism who may have experienced subpar vision with gas-permeable (GP) or soft contact lenses could be good candidates for scleral lenses.
  • Keratoconus and Corneal Irregularities: Scleral lenses can be beneficial for individuals with conditions such as keratoconus or corneal irregularities, providing improved vision correction and comfort.
  • Dry Eye Syndrome: Patients suffering from dry eye syndrome who require refractive correction might find relief and improved visual acuity with scleral lenses.
  • Ocular Surface Diseases: Those with ocular surface diseases that involve damage to the conjunctiva and other related issues may also be considered good candidates for scleral contact lenses.

It is crucial to consult with an eye care professional who can evaluate your individual eye health and specific needs to determine if you are a suitable candidate for scleral lenses.

Scleral Lenses vs. Regular Contacts

Scleral contact lenses and regular contacts have distinct differences that are important to consider.

Size of Lens

Scleral lenses are larger and cover the entire cornea, resting on the sclera of the eye. In contrast, regular contacts are smaller and sit directly on the cornea. This variance in size and placement impacts the stability and fit of the lenses.

Vision Conditions

When it comes to vision correction, both types of lenses can provide effective results. However, scleral lenses may be more suitable for those with conditions like astigmatism, keratoconus, or irregular corneas, as they can offer improved visual acuity compared to regular contacts.

Moisture Retention

Another significant benefit of scleral lenses is their ability to promote eye health and moisture retention. These lenses create a reservoir of saline solution between the lens and the cornea, keeping the eye hydrated and alleviating dry eye symptoms. Regular contacts lack this feature and may contribute to dryness.

Lens Fit

Scleral lenses are custom-made to fit an individual’s unique eye shape. Regular contacts may not offer the same level of customization.

How to Care for Scleral Lenses

Properly caring for your scleral contact lenses involves cleaning them daily, storing them in an appropriate solution, and replacing them on schedule. It’s also important to avoid exposing your lenses to tap water, which can harbour harmful bacteria. 

Scleral Lenses in Toronto

If you have any questions or want more information about these special types of contacts, reach out to the friendly team at Toronto Centre Eye Care. Book an appointment online for a consultation and get started on your contact lens journey today.

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Written by Toronto Centre Eye Care

For over a decade, the name Toronto Centre Eye Care has been synonymous with professional service and personal care. We pride ourselves on the level of care we offer our patients—going above and beyond the call of duty to identify a problem and recommend an effective solution.

We look forward to getting to know you.

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