If your eyes feel itchy or dry much of the time or if your eyes are red or irritated, there’s a good chance you have dry eye syndrome.
Eye drops and artificial tears may give you temporary relief, but they often don’t help solve the problem especially if someone has a chronic or severe dry eye syndrome. There are other solutions, but one that works particularly well are scleral lenses.
Scleral lenses are custom-made contact lenses that are about the same size as a soft lens, but that's about where the similarity ends. We usually prescribe scleral lenses to correct aberrations and abnormalities in the cornea for certain diseases. Scleral lenses can make a huge difference and improve the quality of life for people who have intractable dry eye symptoms. Here’s why:
1. Scleral lenses don’t irritate the cornea like some other types of contact lenses
Standard contact lenses typically can't solve both vision correction and persistent dry eye syndrome. Standard soft lenses sit on the cornea, and that can be very irritating. Scleral lenses don't sit on the cornea, but rather, vault over the cornea and sit on the sclera (the white of the eye). The lenses do not come into contact with the corneal surface, reducing discomfort.
2. The scleral lens design ensures constant hydration of the eye
Scleral lenses vault over the cornea and creates a fluid reservoir of saline that fills the space between the surface of the cornea and the scleral lens. The cornea is therefore constantly hydrated. To help lubricate and promote healing of the ocular surface, artificial tears and antibiotics can be placed into that 'lens' bowl' before the lens is inserted onto the eye.
3. Scleral lenses protect the cornea
Dry eye syndrome makes the corneas more susceptible to injury. The eyelids cause friction every time they blink over the cornea. Even just rubbing the eye or even blinking can make the situation worse. Scleral lenses act as a barrier between a patient's eyes and their eyelids, as well as the outside environment.
4. Scleral Lenses allow the eye to regain a healthier appearance
Patients with Dry Eye Syndrome often have red or bloodshot eyes. Scleral lenses serve a therapeutic role, almost like a clear bandage, and they shield the cornea from the outside world. The redness starts to become less because the cornea now has enough moisture.
5. You can continue using artificial tears and eye drops while wearing scleral lenses
But you will probably find you don't need to keep using those eye drops as often, or even at all. Some people might need eye drops only at night, after they have removed their lenses.
6. Scleral lenses can dramatically improve quality of life
Patients with dry eye syndrome can feel worn down by the almost constant discomfort and eye fatigue, not to mention looking tired all the time due to eye redness.
For patients who have suffered from severe dry eye syndrome for months or years, finding relief while enjoying clear and comfortable vision definitely boosts their quality of life.
If you suffer from dry eye syndrome and have been looking for a more effective treatment option, ask Dr. Moshe Roth and Dr. Steffani Tiomno about scleral lenses. Call Family Eye Care today to schedule your consultation and learn more about these special lenses.
Family Eye Care serves patients from Old Bridge, East Brunswick, Woodbridge, and Edison, New Jersey and surrounding communities.
- A: Scleral contact lenses are gas-permeable lenses that sit on the sclera (the white area of the eye) and form a dome over the cornea. This dome forms a new optical surface over the injured, uneven or dry cornea, allowing for sharper and more comfortable vision.
- A: These gas permeable contacts are made of high-quality, long-lasting materials and typically last a year. Scleral lenses are a little more expensive than standard contact lenses, they are a worthwhile investment, particularly for those with hard-to-fit eyes, keratoconus, astigmatism or dry eye syndrome.