Scleral lenses help people Regain Vision after having a Corneal Transplant
The cornea is the clear window in the front of the eye, that allows light to bend and focus onto the Retina, the back of the eye. The Sclera is the white part of the eye that gives it its structure.
It is common for people to think that the corneal transplant will enable them to regain vision. Often the surface of the transplant is very irregular and there is a considerable astigmatism and distortion. Dry Eye is very common after surgery. Dry eye is more than just uncomfortable: it can lead to long-term vision problems.
At times, a Corneal Transplant is needed when the cornea has been stretched and thinned due to keratoconus or trauma to the cornea. There is usually considerable distortion or scarring before a transplant is even recommended. Fortunately, corneal transplants have a high success rate, but it is common for people to think that that will cure the eye. Although patients usually have significant improvements, they find that they still see blurry, have glare at night, and the vision needs to be corrected.
It can take more than a year for the eye to recover from a corneal transplant. The cornea does not have its own blood supply, so the healing process is slower. The adjustment to the new cornea is unpredictable and it can result in the individuals becoming nearsighted, farsighted, or have high and irregular astigmatism. Prescription glasses may not give relief because the corneal transplant has distortion. Scleral lenses paced over the transplant give the best result to enable someone to regain vision.
Why Would Someone Need a Corneal Transplant?
A corneal transplant is generally needed if:
- The individual has keratoconus. In keratoconus, the cornea becomes thin and begins to bulge. The prefix “kera” is the Latin term for cornea. The suffix “Conus” means that the cornea is bulging, similar to an ice cream cone.
- Scarred cornea caused by severe injuries or infections.
- Vision loss caused by cloudiness of the cornea, typically due to Fuchs Dystrophy.
Individuals with Keratoconus can see better when they wear Scleral Lenses. Often Scleral Lenses can help avoid having to have a corneal transplant. A Corneal Transplant should be the last resort, because even after the transplant, vision will not be clear.
Individuals who have already had a Corneal Transplant can regain vision by wearing Scleral Lenses. These lenses can help regain vision because the lens creates a new, smooth optical surface that bends light onto the retina correctly.
It is common for people to think that a Corneal Transplant will solve their vision problems. A Corneal Transplant will not cure an irregular cornea. As a matter of fact, the corneal transplant induces considerable distortion, even when done by highly qualified corneal surgeons.
- Corneal Gas Permeable Lenses,
- Hybrid contact lenses, or
- Scleral Lenses for clear and comfortable vision.
Scleral lenses are usually the best choice. They give the most comfort and the clearest vision. These lenses are customized to your eye shape. The lenses vault (create a new ‘cap’ or ‘dome’) over the cornea without adding any pressure to it. They rest on the sclera (the white part of the eye) and don’t touch the cornea. The customized lenses are very comfortable and best for corneal healing. They are larger than corneal lenses and are less likely to shift and move around on the eyes. This reduces the risk of irritation or abrasion, or loss of the contact lens.
In our office, we prescribe Scleral Lenses and Other Specialty Contact Lenses
Wearing scleral contact lenses after a corneal graft can be life-changing. It gives you the freedom of being able to comfortably read and to drive safely. The good news is that if you have had a corneal transplant or plan to do so in the near future, clear and comfortable vision after the surgery is possible.Our practice serves patients from Old Bridge, East Brunswick, Woodbridge, and Edison, New Jersey and surrounding communities.