Scleral lenses are custom large diameter gas permeable lenses that are used in the management of a variety of eye conditions. They are called “scleral lenses” because they rest on the sclera, the white part of the eye. They are also known more colloquially as “large diameter lenses”. Scleral lenses offer many potential benefits, including improved contact lens comfort for individuals with sensitive eyes, improved optics for individuals with irregular corneas, and improved corneal hydration for individuals with severe dry eye.
Scleral lenses may be used to improve vision and reduce pain and light sensitivity for people suffering from growing number of disorders or injuries to the eye, such as Microphthalmia, keratoconus, corneal ectasia, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, Sjögren’s syndrome, aniridia, neurotrophic keratitis (anesthetic corneas), complications post-LASIK, complications post-corneal transplant and pellucid degeneration. Injuries to the eye such as surgical complications distorted corneal implants, as well as chemical and burn injuries also may be treated by the use of scleral lenses.
Some patients have disorders that affect the quality or quantity of tears that help to keep the eye’s surface smooth and healthy. Dry eye syndrome, graft vs. host disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and neurotrophic keratopathy are examples of such conditions. Some inflammatory conditions, including limbal stem cell deficiency and ocular cicatricial pemphigoid, also cause serious damage to the front surface of the eye. Patients who cannot close their lids completely may also experience problems with the health of the surface of the eye. The fluid reservoir trapped beneath a scleral lens may improve comfort for these patients and may allow the corneal surface to heal.
Scleral lenses are highly specialized and custom made to address each patient’s unique needs. Because of this, it is particularly critical that the fitting of these large diameter lenses be highly accurate and precise. Dr. Panzer has been successfully fitting scleral large diameter lenses for years. In some cases, patients travel hundreds of miles for fittings with Dr. Panzer. If you have dry eye or sensitive eyes, ask Dr. Panzer if large diameter lenses can provide some relief.