Dr. Frank Zheng is residency trained in Cornea, Contact Lenses, and Myopia Control.
If you've been told in the past that you cannot wear contact lenses because of an irregular cornea or other problems, you may want to get a second opinion and ask your eye doctor about scleral contact lenses.
Scleral contacts are large-diameter gas permeable contact lenses, specially designed to vault over the entire corneal surface and rest on the "white" of the eye (sclera). In doing so, scleral lenses functionally replace the irregular cornea with a perfectly smooth optical surface to correct vision problems caused by keratoconus and other corneal irregularities.
Also, the space between the cornea and the back surface of a scleral lens acts as a fluid reservoir to provide comfort for people with severe dry eyes, who could otherwise not tolerate contact lens wear.
More complex conditions, including advanced keratoconus, pathologically dry eyes, or severe ocular surface disease that might require a large tear reservoir, are often fitted with larger scleral lenses, as they have more capacity to hold fluid or bridge large changes in corneal curvature.
During your contact lens exam and fitting, your eye care professional will determine the best scleral lens type and size for your specific needs.
Contact lenses are not an easy solution for every person suffering from vision problems. Some eye conditions make wearing contacts a difficult proposition. However, it does not rule out wearing contact lenses altogether. Talk to your eye care provider to explore the best options for you.
Eyeglasses or soft contact lenses may be used to correct most refractive errors. However, for patients who are not able to achieve crisp and comfortable vision with just glasses or contacts, specialty contact lenses may be an alternative solution. Many people with irregular corneas, keratoconus, or even severe dry eyes can be fitted into sclerals to provide improved vision and comfort. These specialty lenses must be carefully fitted, and regular follow-ups and potential lens adjustments may be needed to achieve and maintain good vision.
REASONS FOR SPECIALTY CONTACT LENSES
- Dry eyes
- Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC)
- Post-surgical eyes
- Irregular cornea
Astigmatism: Astigmatism develops when the front of the eye curves into a bulge or oval shape. It causes blurred vision and can be difficult to correct because regular contacts cannot account for the bulging.
Dry Eyes: When eyes become excessively dry, it leads to irritation, burning, redness and blurred vision. Contact lenses can exacerbate these conditions by making it feel like a foreign object is stuck in your eye.
GPC: This form of conjunctivitis is caused by inflammation on the inner surface of the eyelid. Protein buildup on contact lenses can make this condition worse.
Keratoconus: This is an uncommon condition that causes major discomfort when wearing contacts. Keratoconus happens when the cornea becomes thinner and allows the eye to bulge forward. The bulge forms into a cone shape.
Presbyopia: Eyes tend to have a tougher time focusing on close objects as they age. This condition is known as presbyopia. It typically affects people aged 40 or older.
TYPES OF SPECIALTY CONTACT LENSES
- Scleral lenses
- Hybrid lenses
- Rigid gas permeables
- Prosthetic lenses
- Custom made soft contact lenses
- Specialized color contacts both for cosmetic and/or symptomatic treatments