Dr. Z. Answers Your Questions About Scleral Lenses
1. What are scleral contact lenses?
Scleral lenses are large diameter hard contacts designed to help people who struggle to see with scarred, thin, or irregular corneas. The purpose of a scleral lens is to completely vault the damaged cornea providing a regular optical surface resulting in improved vision. The edges of scleral lenses rest on the sclera of the eye which is how they get their name.
2. Who is a good candidate for scleral lenses?
People who are unable to achieve good vision with traditional contact lenses or glasses can often be helped with scleral lenses. Inserting and removing scleral lenses from the eye can be tricky so good manual dexterity is helpful but not a must.
3. What eye health issues do scleral contact lens treat (i.e. keratoconus, corneal transplants, dry eyes? etc.)?
People with Keratoconus, post-refractive surgery, scarred corneas, corneal transplants, and severe dry eye would all be good scleral lens candidates. The quality of vision and advances in scleral lens design have improved so much in recent years that some traditional contact lens prescriptions are now considered for scleral lens use.
4. What types of scleral lenses are there?
Scleral lenses are available in different geometries and diameters through various manufacturers. Some companies like EyePrint offer a completely custom fit using a mold of the patient’s eye to create the lens. The size of the cornea and extent of the corneal disorder will often determine the most appropriate starting lens. Inadequate fit and/or vision may require lens changes throughout the fitting process. Our office uses Zenlens and Ampleye for most of our patients.
5. Are scleral lenses typically covered by medical or vision insurance?
Some vision insurances will cover scleral lenses and most medical insurances will not. As scleral lenses gain mainstream traction we hope the materials cost will decrease and insurance coverage will improve. These lenses are a game changer for many people with decreased vision and are a nice tool to have when traditional ways of correcting vision are not effective.