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person applying scleral lense

A scleral lens is a large diameter gas-permeable lens ranging from 14mm to 20mm that completely vault the cornea and rest on the sclera (white part of the eye), distributing their weight over a larger area. A scleral lens will usually extend only a couple of millimeters beyond the colored part of the eye.

If your cornea has an irregular shape due to eye disease (keratoconus), surgery (e.g. corneal transplant) or injury, your vision will not be clear, even with glasses. Hard contact lenses provide a smooth and regular surface so your eyes can see clearly, but they are not always well-tolerated.

Scleral contact lenses are much larger than other hard lenses (RGPs). The hard surface creates a stable, regular ocular surface, which means crisp vision. They are used to provide comfortable, functional vision in corneal disease and patients with dry eyes.

eye diagram
What conditions are treated with Scleral Contact Lenses?

Anyone can wear a scleral lens; however, because they are not many eye care providers who fit scleral lenses they are usually reserved for more complicated cases. Keratoconus is the most common use for fitting scleral contacts and refractive surgery complications are the second. Here is a list of the common uses for scleral contact lenses.

  • Keratoconus
  • Pellucid marginal degeneration
  • Post-refractive surgery complications (such as LASIK and PRK)
  • Corneal transplants (penetrating keratoplasty)
  • Severe dry eye syndrome
  • High refractive error
  • Irregular astigmatism
  • Corneal ectasia
  •  Recurrent Corneal Erosions
  • Corneal Dystrophies
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
  •  Sjogren’s Syndrome
  • Exposure Keratopathy
  • Non-Healing corneal Epithelial Defects
  • Neuropathic Corneas
  • Corneal scars
  • Bullous keratopathy

Both rigid gas permeable lenses and scleral lenses are used for keratoconus treatment. However, scleral contact lenses provide improved comfort and better more stable vision than traditional gas permeable lenses. Scleral contact lenses also provide better visual acuity, durability, and comfort. Keratoconus experts now agree scleral contact lenses are the treatment of choice for patients with keratoconus and irregular corneas.

Most medical insurance plans do not cover scleral contact lenses; however, numerous vision plans do consider scleral lenses as medically necessary (or visually necessary) devices and do offer partial or complete coverage.

Do you think you could be a candidate for scleral lenses?

Request Appointment for scleral lenses consultation.