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Scleral

A Guide to Scleral Lenses

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Many people can’t wear standard contact lenses. This is especially true of patients with severe dry eye syndrome, keratoconus, irregular astigmatism, among other conditions.

That’s why eye doctors often prescribe scleral lenses to such patients. These specialized rigid, gas permeable contact lenses have a very wide diameter and extend over the entire corneal surface, making them effective and comfortable for people with irregular corneas.

At first, some patients may find scleral lenses to be difficult to insert and remove. However, after some practice, you’ll find it easy to care for your sclerals!

Safety and Hygiene for Scleral Lenses

Handling scleral lenses incorrectly can increase your risk of eye infection. Additional risk factors include improper lens cleaning, poor hygiene, and smoking. Therefore, it’s important to follow your eye doctor’s instructions on how to handle your lenses hygienically.

Before handling, inserting, or removing scleral lenses, make sure to:

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with non-oily soap or antibacterial-based pump soap and dry them with a clean lint-free towel or paper towel.
  • Sit at a desk or table and place a lint-free cloth down to insert and remove lenses. Avoid bathrooms, as they often contain more germs than other rooms in the home.
  • Inspect your lenses for chips or cracks and protein deposits on the lens surface. If you notice any defects or are unsure whether your lenses are damaged, don’t wear them until your eye doctor has inspected them.

How to Insert Scleral Lenses

  1. Remove your scleral lenses from their storage case and rinse with them with saline. If you’re using a hydrogen peroxide solution, wait at least 6 hours from when the lenses were placed into the storage case for the solution to neutralize. Always rinse with saline before placing the lens on the eye.
  2. Either place the scleral lens between your middle, forefinger, and thumb — known as the tripod method — or secure the lens to a suction tool (plunger) supplied by your optometrist.
  3. Fill half the bowl of the lens with preservative-free saline solution to prevent air bubbles from forming between your eye and the lens. Insert the lens directly onto the center of your eye in a facedown position.
  4. Dry and wipe your lens case with a tissue and leave the case lid off to air dry.

How to Remove Scleral Lenses

There are two methods to remove scleral contact lenses: with your fingers, or with the aid of a plunger. First, to detach your scleral lenses from your eye, press firmly with your finger on your bottom eyelid just below the edge of the lens, then push upwards.

Method 1 – Manual Removal

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    Insert a drop of preservative-free saline solution or artificial tears to loosen the lens.

  2. Look down onto a flat surface (a mirror or towel can be placed there).
  3. Use your middle finger to open your eyelid wider than the lens diameter.
  4. Apply pressure to the middle of the lid — as close to the lashes as you can — and push down on the eyelid to move your eyelid under the lens and lever it off the eye.

Method 2 – Suction Tool

  1. While looking at a mirror in front of you, hold your bottom lid open. Wet the tip of the suction tool to allow for better adhesion and attach it to the bottom of the lens.
  2. Using the suction tool, remove the lens by tilting the lens up and out of the eye.

How To Care for Your Scleral Lenses

The number one rule in contact lens care is always to follow the professional advice of your optometrist. If you need any clarification, always contact their office first.

Never ever use tap water in any area of lens care, whether to rinse or fill your lens case. Tap water contains a multitude of dangerous microorganisms, including acanthamoeba, that can cause a severe, painful, and sight-threatening infection. Be sure that your hands are fully dry after using a lint-free towel prior to handling your lenses.

Remove Before Going to Sleep

Most people can comfortably wear scleral contact lenses for up to 12-14 hours at a time. Approximately an hour before going to sleep is the best time to remove the lenses. If your lenses fog up in the middle of the day, it’s best to remove them and try various methods to clear up the fogginess before reinserting.

Use a Peroxide Cleaner

You can sterilize your scleral lenses by immersing them in 3% hydrogen peroxide. Over a period of 6 hours, the catalyst in the case transforms the hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen gas. This gives your lenses a deep clean and removes the need to rub them, thus decreasing the risk of accidental breakage. Do not use the lenses until they have been immersed for 6 hours, as the un-neutralized peroxide will painfully sting your eyes. Leave the lens case to dry when not in use.

Use a Filling Solution That Is Preservative-Free

When inserting scleral lenses, use unpreserved sterile saline solution by filling the bowl of the lens upon insertion. Don’t use tap water or a preserved solution as these can lead to an eye infection.

Remove Debris Using Multi-Purpose Lens Solution

Once you’ve thoroughly washed and dried your hands, remove your scleral lenses and rub them for 2 minutes in a contact lens case filled with saline solution. This effectively removes microorganisms and deposits, lowering your risk of infection. While scleral lenses are strong, too much force or an incorrect technique can cause them to break.

After rubbing your lenses, thoroughly rinse them using the solution for 5-10 seconds. Then place them in a case filled with fresh solution and leave them to disinfect for at least 4 hours.

Routinely Clean and Replace Your Lens Case

Regularly clean and replace your lens case to prevent infection due to bacterial contamination.

It is recommended to clean the storage case on a daily basis and to replace it monthly or as advised by your eye doctor.

Your optometrist will recommend when to get a new pair of scleral lenses, and will advise you when to schedule follow-up appointments. Failure to show up for scheduled appointments can compromise the lenses’ efficacy.

At The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eyecare Greengate, we can recommend the best wearing schedule for your contact lenses to ensure the highest level of comfort and visual acuity. Always follow the instructions provided by your eye care professional. Call to schedule an eye exam and a scleral lens fitting today.

The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eyecare Greengate serves patients from Greensburg, Murrysville, Fort Allen, and Export, all throughout Pennsylvania.

Q&A

 

Q: Why do I need to use preservative-free solutions to fill the lens?

  • A: Long-term exposure to preservatives can cause corneal toxicity or sensitivity that results in irritation and redness.

Q: How long do my application and removal plungers last?

  • A: Plungers should be replaced every 3 months, or sooner if necessary.


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Can Scleral Lenses Help You? Find Out! 724-215-9044

Tips For Wearing Scleral Lenses

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Scleral lenses are ideal for patients with corneal irregularities, dry eyes, and hard-to-fit eyes. Their uniquely large circumference offers the best in visual comfort and clarity. But wearing and caring for your scleral lenses can take some getting used to.

Below are our top 5 tips for anyone who wears scleral lenses. If you have questions about scleral lenses or any other optometric matter, The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eyecare Greengate in Greensburg is here for you.

1. Lens Hygiene is Top Priority

Keeping your scleral lenses hygienic and free of buildup is key in ensuring the clearest possible vision. When you remove them from your eyes, rub them for several seconds with lens cleaner to remove surface debris and bacteria. Then, rinse them on both sides with saline solution before storing them.

Another hygiene tip: Before handling your lenses, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water, and to rinse and dry them with a lint-free cloth or paper towel. Good hygiene will significantly minimize possible complications and keep your eyes feeling fresh.

2. Manage Your Dry Eye

Many patients with dry eye syndrome (DES) choose to wear scleral lenses for their hydrating and soothing properties. While sclerals can offer substantial relief from their dry eye symptoms, patients shouldn’t forget to seek treatment for their DES.

That’s because scleral lenses help manage dry eye, but don’t actually treat it. So, it’s best to follow up with your eye doctor about any eye drops, medications, or at-home remedies to support healthy tears.

3. Use a Cotton Swab For Cleaning

Patients with long fingernails can find it challenging to thoroughly clean their scleral lenses. Rubbing the inside bowl of the lens with a cotton swab and cleaning solution can effectively remove the buildup from the lens. Then, rinse off the cleaning solution with saline to remove the cleaning solution and any lint from the cotton swab.

4. Try Different Insertion Tools

Is your current insertion method not working as smoothly as you’d like? No worries! Ask your eye doctor about different tools you can use, such as the O-ring or applicator ring.

But please only insert your lens with tools that your eye doctor recommends!

5. Follow Up With Your Eye Doctor

Because scleral lenses are customized, they often require a few visits with your optometrist to optimize their fit. Even after the fitting process is complete, follow-ups will help ensure that your lenses are still in good condition.

If your scleral lenses are giving you any trouble at all, we can help. To schedule your scleral lens consultation, call us today!

The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eyecare Greengate serves patients in Greensburg, Murrysville, Fort Allen, Export, and throughout Greensburg.

Frequently Asked Questions with Our Scleral Lenses Expert in Greensburg, Pennsylvania:

Q: How do scleral lenses work?

  • A: Scleral lenses rest and vault over the entire sclera (white of the eye), encasing a hydrating reservoir in between the lens and the cornea (front surface of the eye). This allows people with irregular corneas to wear contact lenses, since the lens isn’t in direct contact with the cornea itself.

Q: How long do scleral lenses last?

  • A: Scleral lenses generally last 1-2 years, depending on how well you care for them and how your tear film reacts with them. Even so, check-ups every 6 months are recommended to ensure they still fit well and provide clear vision.


References

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Can Scleral Lenses Help You? Find Out! 724-215-9044

Can I Wear Contacts If I Have Astigmatism?

brunette girl smiling 640Many people choose to wear contact lenses to correct their vision due to the freedom and convenience contacts provide. But for those with astigmatism, wearing contact lenses isn’t always simple.

At The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eyecare Greengate in Greensburg we offer specialized contact lenses that provide clear and comfortable vision, even if you have moderate to severe astigmatism.

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a refractive error caused by an irregularly shaped cornea. The abnormal cornea causes light to disperse unevenly into the eye, leading to blurred or distorted vision. Other symptoms of astigmatism can include headaches, eye strain, and difficulties with reading or using digital devices.

Astigmatism may be congenital, meaning that you are born with the condition, or you can develop it later in life. People with astigmatism usually also have myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness), two of the most common refractive errors.

Which Contact Lenses Can You Wear With Astigmatism?

Although traditional soft contact lenses may not be suitable for patients with astigmatism, there are two other types of contact lenses specifically designed for those with unusually shaped corneas.

Toric Contact Lenses

Toric lenses are a popular choice for people with mild astigmatism. Patients with higher levels of astigmatism, however, generally require a higher level of expertise.

Toric lenses are designed to provide clear vision and a comfortable fit. There are two main issues with toric lenses. First, the range of corrective powers is limited, so patients with moderate to high levels of astigmatism may not be able to wear toric contacts. Second, these lenses need to rotate on the cornea to find the correct position and orientation, leading these lenses to occasionally provide unstable or varying clarity of vision.

Toric lenses are available in either soft disposable or rigid gas permeable (RGP) lens materials.

Scleral Contact Lenses

Unlike standard lenses, scleral lenses vault over the cornea and sit on the sclera (the white of the eye). These lenses do not have the issues faced by toric lenses as they are individually designed for each patient and do not sit on the cornea. By vaulting over the cornea, scleral lenses create a liquid reservoir between your cornea and the lens. This dome provides a continually hydrating environment that protects the cornea, promotes healing, and increases comfort.

Scleral lenses have become a staple therapeutic tool in the visual rehabilitation of patients with astigmatism and other corneal irregularities. They also can provide better visual acuity than standard soft lenses thanks to their rigid surface and personalized fit. Scleral lenses have proven to be an excellent solution for patients with astigmatism that appreciate sharp and comfortable vision.

How We Can Help

At The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eyecare Greengate, we can provide you with customized toric or scleral contact lenses that are tailor-made for patients with astigmatism or other corneal irregularities, as well as hard-to-fit eyes. By taking precise and detailed measurements of your cornea, we will be able to ensure a secure fit and crisp, clear vision. To learn more information or to schedule your consultation, call us today.

The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eyecare Greengate serves patients from Greensburg, Murrysville, Fort Allen, Export, and throughout Pennsylvania.

Request A Scleral Lens Appointment Today
Can Scleral Lenses Help You? Find Out! 724-215-9044

5 Facts About Scleral Lenses

happy teenagers 640Scleral contact lenses are large-diameter gas permeable contact lenses that vault over the cornea and rest on the “white” of the eye (the sclera). In doing so, the lenses form a dome over the irregular cornea that provides clear and comfortable vision for individuals with keratoconus, dry eye and other ocular surface conditions.

Here are 5 facts about scleral lenses and why they are a great choice for many patients.

1- They work when nothing else will.

Patients with an irregularly shaped cornea, whether due to natural causes, an eye condition or complications following surgery, can at times develop vision problems that cannot be corrected using glasses or soft contact lenses. In such cases, scleral lenses provide a more comfortable, stable, secure fit, and improved vision.

For those with keratoconus, scleral contact lenses provide advanced care that resolves visual distortions and creates clear vision while providing a comfortable wearing experience.

In addition to helping those with keratoconus, scleral lenses are also recommended for those with an astigmatism, particularly for high astigmatism that other contacts cannot comfortably correct.

2- Scleral contacts provide relief for those who suffer from dry eye.

Unlike traditional contact lenses, scleral lenses minimize eye irritation. Since they vault over the dry, irritated cornea and sit on the sclera, they offer comfort and clear vision. Sclerals leave a space between the lens and the cornea containing a liquid reservoir of artificial tears that provides a protective cushion that soothes the eye.

This is crucial, because even blinking can irritate the eye or injure the cornea due to the mechanical friction of the eyelids on the cornea. Scleral lenses can act as a shield between a patient’s eyes and their eyelids, protecting the eyes from further irritation or damage.

3- Sclerals are long lasting lenses.

Constructed from high quality, durable materials, these rigid gas permeable contacts typically last 1-3 years. Therefore, while the initial cost of scleral lenses is higher than standard contacts, you’ll benefit from maximum value for your money.

While scleral lenses are long lasting, it is important to book follow up visits with your eye doctor to determine when it’s time to replace them with a new pair, so as not to harm your cornea.

4- Scleral contacts are worth the cost

People assume that because sclerals must be fitted and customized to fit each individual eye, they are exorbitantly expensive. In fact, the lenses are often covered by insurance and certain vision and health savings plans.

These lenses provide enough of an improvement over regular lenses — in both comfort and vision — to justify the investment.

5- Scleral lenses are very comfortable.

Some people mistakenly assume that rigid contacts aren’t comfortable. In reality, scleral contact lenses are very comfortable because they don’t touch the cornea and lubricate the eyes.

If you have irregular corneas, dry eye or hard-to-fit eyes, scleral lenses may be right for you. Find out more about scleral lenses by scheduling an eye exam at The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eyecare Greengate today!

The Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center at Eyecare Greengate serves patients from Greensburg, Murrysville, Fort Allen and Export, throughout Pennsylvania.

Request A Scleral Lens Appointment Today
Can Scleral Lenses Help You? Find Out! 724-215-9044