This article is for anyone who uses a scleral lens or anyone who knows someone who wears one. For those who have one, it is a great information to explain what it is you have in your eye!!
For me, I had two surgeries over the last six years to remove a tumor at the base of my skull. It was on a cranial nerve responsible for hearing and balance but also wrapped around a cranial nerve responsible for facial sensation. The tumor is gone but I am deaf in one ear and I have facial weakness that prevents my eyelid in one eye from closing completely. Hence, the need for a scleral lens.
What the lens does is protect the area of my eye that is exposed to the elements. Now from what I understand scleral lenses can be used for all sorts of eye problems like (taken from Wikipedia) dry eye syndrome, microphthalmia, keratoconus, corneal ectasia, Stevens–Johnson syndrome, Sjögren’s syndrome, aniridia, neurotrophic keratitis (aneasthetic corneas), complications post-LASIK, higher order Aberrations of the eye, complications post-corneal transplant and pellucid degeneration.
I think what I have is keratocunus caused from my malfunctioning eyelid. Complications from my surgeries have been, scarring,perforation, thinning of the cornea and blurry vision. Basically an epithelial defect. All virtually reversed with the use of a scleral lens.
Now some people will ask “Isn’t this just a contact lens?”. I can see where the confusion may lie. A contact lens is used for correcting vision. It only covers the cornea (sclera). Notice the missing “L” in the spelling.
A scleral lens is at least 30% larger and covers the entire eye. It is shaped such that you must fill it up with saline solution (like a bowl) and insert it into to your eye. Your eye sits submerged in the saline while you wear the lens. I find that my vision is near perfect with it in.
For me, the lens is like a windshield. It needs to cleaned from time to time. My lens accumulates (what I call schmotz), so I need to clean it. My optometrist recommended using an optical disinfectant solution and wipe the lens while it is still in my eye with a cotton swab. I also do this when it occasionally fogs up.
Unfortunately, you can’t just buy this type of lens from the shelf. It has to be custom fitted by an optometrist who specializes in fitting this type of lens. It could take more then one fitting to get it just right. I went through two lenses before it fit properly. It has to be done within 90 days since that is the warranty period of the lens and the supplier will exchange it for free. After that, you will have to buy it again….
These lenses also are not cheap. I have just one lens and it cost me $1200 for the lens and fitting visits for one year. I have heard estimates that were higher. Everyone’s situation is different.
You are supposed to take them out when you sleep (Just like regular contact lenses) and put them into a solution:
I belong to a Facebook group of scleral lens users. It’s great hearing everyone’s story on how they use scleral lens. I would say it was a much needed medical innovation. I hope this synopsis of what a scleral lens is and how it functions is helpful to you. Here are some more links: