Scleral lenses are rigid gas permeable (RGP) and significantly larger than traditional contact lenses. The size and shape of these lenses allow them to rest against the sclera (the white, outer part of the eyeball) rather than atop the cornea. Patients who wear scleral lenses generally find them to be more comfortable, better at providing stable vision correction and less likely to slip around or accidentally dislodge from the eye.
Who is a Candidate for Scleral Lenses?
Your doctor may recommend scleral lenses if your cornea has an irregular shape. An imperfect eye shape can occur from birth (astigmatism), through an eye condition like keratoconus or due to an injury. You may also prefer scleral lenses if you suffer from chronic dry eye, since wearing traditional contact lenses can amplify the discomfort you experience. By avoiding the cornea, scleral lenses help keep the eyes moister.
How to Insert and Remove Scleral Lenses?
While patients do find scleral lenses more comfortable, they can be trickier to insert into the eyes than regular contact lenses — at least at first. The team at Access Eye will help you master the art of inserting and removing these lenses so they can be a hassle-free part of your everyday life.
Inserting Scleral Lenses
Before handling your scleral lenses, always wash your hands and dry them using a lint-free towel to avoid having small fibers get on the lenses. For your safety, also check your lenses for cracks, chips, scratches or debris before putting them on your eyes.
First, place a mirror flat on a surface like a bathroom counter or table. Next, fill the lenses with saline. Then, use one hand to hold your eyelid open while you grab one of the lenses with two or three fingertips on your other hand. Using the mirror beneath you as a guide, slowly press this lens against your eyeball. When you feel the saline touch your eye, apply gentle pressure and then release. The lens should attach securely to the eye. Repeat the same steps to place a lens in the other eye.
Removing Scleral Lenses
To remove your scleral lenses with your fingers, first wash your hands. Then, use two fingertips to touch both side of the lens and carefully dislodge it. Although it may feel awkward the first couple times you try it, it should become second nature in no time.
Another option is to use a miniature plunger device. Apply saline to the plunger and then press it against the lower part of the scleral lens. After the plunger suctions, lift it upwards and outwards for easy removal.
How to Care for Scleral Lenses?
Lenses should be cleaned as soon as they are removed to keep them safe and sanitary. Use your fingertips to rub a few drops of cleaning solution onto each lens and then rinse it off with saline. Return the lenses to their case and add a disinfectant solution.
Be sure to use new cleaning, saline and disinfectant solution each time to avoid the accumulation of bacteria. Also, use the types of solutions that your doctor has recommended — different types of scleral lenses require different kinds of disinfectant, and using the wrong one can damage the lenses. When your lens case is empty (i.e., you are wearing your lenses), clean out and wipe down the case.
Learn More about Scleral Lenses
If you are interested in making the switch to scleral lenses to correct your vision or you would like to learn more about caring for your existing lenses, please schedule an appointment by calling (540) 371-2020. With five convenient locations, we serve patients in Fredericksburg, Stafford, King George and Spotsylvania, Virginia.