Dry eye symptoms can make your eyes feel tired, irritated, and uncomfortable. Much like a runny nose or plugged ears, dry eye can feel impossible to ignore. Except dry eye doesn’t resolve quite as easily as we’d like.
Dry eye can be frustrating to deal with, but there are many treatments available to help alleviate the symptoms associated with this condition. One course of treatment is the use of scleral contact lenses.
Scleral lenses are a type of specialty contact lens that helps retain moisture in the eyes, making them a great solution for people with dry eye.
How Do Scleral Lenses Work?
Scleral contact lenses are larger than regular contact lenses and are designed to cover your sclera (the white of your eye).
Scleral lenses leave a small space between the lens and your cornea. This space acts as a fluid reservoir to trap moisture against the eye and keep it hydrated throughout the day.
These lenses are a great option for people who have corneal irregularities, such as keratoconus, as it simulates a smooth ocular surface and improves vision. These lenses are also a great option for people with dry eye as the lenses are designed to keep the eye hydrated.
Wearing scleral lenses is different from traditional contact lenses. Your optometrist will help you choose the best scleral lens for your eye and show you how to use the lenses properly. They’ll also be able to give you care instructions for your lenses for the best possible outcome.
You can wear your scleral lenses for up to 12 to 14 hours a day and these lenses typically last 1 to 2 years (unless your prescription needs updating).
Scleral lenses are generally custom-made for your eyes, so you will likely need to go for a fitting appointment before you get your lenses. This fitting involves corneal topography, a process that creates a 3D map of your corneal surface. You may also need anterior optical coherence topography to measure and analyze the front of your eye with a cross-section.
You may need to try more than one set of lenses to get the perfect fit for your comfort and vision, but it’s a worthwhile process to go through for the best possible fit. The cost of scleral lenses can range from $1,000 to $2,000, but this may vary depending on the complexity of the lenses, number of fittings and exams, and your insurance coverage.
How Can Scleral Lenses Help My Dry Eye?
There are many benefits of wearing scleral lenses to help alleviate dry eye symptoms.
1. Comfort for Your Cornea
Regular contact lenses sit on top of your cornea. This can cause major irritation for people with dry eye, so these regular lenses are usually not an option. With scleral lenses, the cornea stays hydrated and allows you to wear contact lenses with comfort.
2. Hydrated Eyes
Scleral lenses are specifically designed to retain moisture for the eye, making them a great option for people with dry eye. These lenses allow you to have the freedom of contact lenses without sacrificing comfort. In fact, you may find they provide much-needed relief from your dry eye symptoms.
Dry eye can make your eyes far more sensitive and vulnerable to injury. Sometimes even blinking can cause irritation or damage to the cornea. Scleral lenses act like a shield for your eyes, protecting your cornea from environmental irritants.
4. Healthy Look
Dry eye can often cause the eyes to appear extremely red or bloodshot. Since the eyes aren’t properly hydrated, it doesn’t take much to cause them to look irritated. Scleral lenses hydrate the eyes and help them look (and feel) much healthier.
5. Keep Your Drops
You can continue to use artificial tears and eye drops while wearing your scleral lenses, although you shouldn’t need to use them as frequently with the lenses in. Many people with dry eye find they use their eye drops at night after taking their scleral lenses out, but don’t need their drops as much during the day.
6. Live Better
Scleral lenses can alleviate the symptoms of dry eye and make your day-to-day activities more enjoyable. These lenses can decrease any discomfort from your dry eye, provide you with clear vision, and reduce the need for temporary fixes like eye drops.
Talk to Your Optometrist
You don’t have to suffer from dry eye any longer. Talk to one of our London eye doctors about options for treatment, such as scleral lenses, so you can get back to what really matters: enjoying your life!
Contact our team to book an appointment and answer any questions you have regarding your eye health.