scleral contact lens

Advantages and Disadvantages of Scleral Contact lenses

Soft contact lens are the most widely used CL and well accepted by Patients.However in certain cases Scleral Contact lens are a better option. Let us read some advantages and disadvantages of Scleral contact lenses.

Why Use Scleral Contact Lens Vs Soft Contact Lens

Advantages and Disadvantages of Scleral Contact lenses.
  1. Irregular Corneas: Scleral lenses are particularly beneficial for individuals with irregular corneas, such as those with keratoconus, post-corneal transplant, or irregularities resulting from corneal surgery. The larger size of scleral lenses helps to provide a more stable and uniform optical surface, improving vision for individuals with these conditions.
  2. Astigmatism and Complex Prescriptions: Scleral lenses can be customized to correct a wide range of vision issues, including astigmatism and complex prescriptions. Soft contact lenses may have limitations in addressing certain degrees of astigmatism or specific prescription needs, whereas scleral lenses offer more versatility in this regard.
  3. Dry Eyes: Scleral lenses act as a reservoir for tears, providing continuous moisture to the cornea. This can be beneficial for individuals with dry eyes or those who experience discomfort with soft contact lenses, as the larger size of scleral lenses helps prevent dehydration of the ocular surface.
  4. Stability and Comfort: The design of scleral lenses, which vaults over the cornea and rests on the sclera, provides enhanced stability. This can lead to increased comfort, especially for individuals who may experience discomfort or irritation with soft lenses that move or shift on the cornea.
  5. Longer Wear Time: Scleral lenses can often be worn for longer periods than soft contact lenses, making them suitable for individuals who require extended wear due to specific eye conditions or lifestyle preferences.
  6. Protection from Environmental Factors: The larger diameter of scleral lenses provides a protective barrier against environmental factors such as wind, dust, and allergens. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who are sensitive to these elements or experience discomfort with soft lenses in challenging environments.
  7. Reduced Sensitivity to Lens Material: Some individuals may be sensitive to the materials used in soft contact lenses. Scleral lenses, which rest on the sclera rather than the cornea, may be better tolerated by individuals with sensitivities to certain contact lens materials.

Disadvantages of Scleral Contact lenses

However, scleral contact lenses have some disadvantages. The most apparent drawback is their challenging application and removal due to their large size. Even for individuals accustomed to regular contact lenses, the substantial difference in size can cause initial discomfort.

  1. Cost Factor: Scleral lenses are significantly more expensive than soft contact lenses. They can be four to five times as costly, making them a substantial financial commitment. Moreover, these lenses are highly customized, adding to the expense. Despite the potential coverage from vision insurance, it often falls short of covering the entire cost, leaving the wearer with a substantial out-of-pocket expense.
  2. Limited Wear Time: It is crucial not to wear scleral lenses for extended periods. Ideally, wear should not exceed 12 hours straight. However, individuals with conditions like keratoconus may require all-day use. In such cases, constant lubrication with artificial tear solutions becomes necessary to safeguard the eyes. Sleeping with these lenses poses risks, as the lack of blinking during sleep can allow debris to accumulate, potentially leading to infections.
  3. Comfort Issues: The size and design of scleral lenses can result in discomfort for some wearers. The initial adjustment period can be challenging, and individuals may experience sensations of foreign bodies in their eyes. The lenses can also be more noticeable, causing irritation or awareness of their presence, particularly for those new to this type of contact lens.
  4. Risk of Infection: Wearing scleral lenses during sleep increases the risk of infection. Even with closed eyes, debris can accumulate, as the natural blinking process, which helps flush out foreign objects, is absent. This can create an environment conducive to infection, emphasizing the importance of strictly adhering to recommended wear and care guidelines.
  5. Read- Scleral Lens Insurance coverage

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