FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About Scleral Lenses

Have you recently visited your eye doctor and received a recommendation to use scleral lenses? If you want to know more about this type of custom-designed contact lenses, here are the answers to its most commonly asked questions:


What Are Scleral Lenses?

The American Academy of Ophthalmology describes scleral lenses as rigid, gas-permeable (RGP) lenses with large diameters. The average human cornea has a diameter of approximately 11.8 millimeters (mm). Scleral lenses, on the other hand, have a diameter ranging from 14.5 mm to 24 mm. These lenses are designed to vault over the entire surface of your cornea. They rest on the white part of your eye, known as the sclera.


Who Is It For?


Scleral lenses can help with vision correction in patients suffering from keratoconus and other types of corneal ectasia. This is achieved by morphing an irregularly shaped cornea into a smooth optical surface. Besides, the space between your cornea and the back of the scleral lens serves as a fluid reservoir. This continuously hydrates your cornea, providing comfort. By holding a layer of tears in this gap, scleral lenses offer relief for those who struggle with severe dry eyes or ocular surface disease. 


What Are Its Advantages?


The primary benefit of using scleral lenses is that they can be custom-made. This way, they will match the degree of steepness or irregularity of your cornea. Regular contact lenses usually move around much and may even accidentally get dislodged from your eyes. The large size of scleral lenses prevents these from happening. Not only do these lenses provide better stability and centration than regular corneal lenses, but they’re also more comfortable. This is because the conjunctival tissue on which your scleral lenses rest tends to be less sensitive than your corneal tissue. If you've damaged your corneal tissue before, rest assured that scleral lenses will not touch the corneal surface. Instead, the lens bathes it continuously. This prevents the worsening of scar formation. 


What to Expect During Lens-Fitting


Your appointment generally starts with a consultation. You will undergo digital imaging tests, and then measurements will be taken to custom-fit the scleral lenses to your eyes. Your eye doctor will dispense the lens and train you on how to care, insert, remove, and store the lenses properly. Follow-up visits may be necessary for micro-adjustments. 


How Much Does It Cost?


Unlike conventional contacts, which you can buy in a standard size, scleral lenses are custom-fit to match the exact contours of your eyes. For this reason, more training is necessary on the part of your eye doctor. To achieve an optimal fit, expensive equipment and multiple visits to your doctor will be required. The fitting process ranges broadly between $500 (plus a lens-fitting fee) to an all-in charge of a few thousand per eye. The cost varies depending on the type of scleral lens you'd be using and the fitting process. Scleral lenses are not usually covered by most health insurance policies. But some vision care plans may cover it, either fully or partially. 


Scleral lenses are hard lenses. This means that they generally last a lot longer than soft contacts. It may be more expensive than traditional contacts. But the scleral lenses' lifespan and the many benefits they offer to make them a worthwhile investment. Do you want to see if you're a good candidate for scleral lenses? Schedule your consultation today with Omaha Primary Eye Care in Elkhorn, Nebraska by calling 402-383-0780.