Candidates for Scleral Lenses


They may not be as popular as glasses, but contact lenses are an extremely effective and convenient visual aid for people who need to wear prescription lenses in order to enjoy clear vision. However, many people are surprised to learn that there are a huge variety of different lenses available. This means that even those patients who aren’t found to be good candidates for conventional style lenses can almost certainly find a contact lens solution to suit them. These are usually referred to as specialty contact lenses. 


What are Scleral Lenses?

Scleral lenses are one type of specialty contact lens. Their design differs significantly from that of conventional contacts which helps to make them suitable for many patients who can’t wear regular contact lenses. 


Scleral lenses are large-diameter contact lenses that are made from special gas-permeable material. This material enables oxygen to pass directly through the lens, reaching the surface of the eye to keep it hydrated and comfortable. However, rather than remaining in contact with the entire surface of the eye, scleral lenses actually vault over the cornea, leaving a clear space between the back of the lens and the cornea itself. This space is sufficient to accommodate many corneal abnormalities, as well as to trap tear film on the surface of the eyes, which helps with hydration. 


Scleral lenses are available in several different sizes, making it simple for patients and their eye doctors to find a type that suits their individual needs. While most conventional lenses are around 9.0-9.5mm in diameter, scleral lenses start at 14.5mm in diameter and extend right up to 24mm across. This larger size gives them greater stability on the surface of the eye, which in turn creates a clearer and more concise vision. 


Am I a Good Candidate for Scleral Lenses?


If you are a patient who has previously had difficulty achieving clear vision using glasses or conventional contact lenses, or if you have a corneal abnormality, you could potentially be a good candidate for scleral lenses. Typically, scleral lenses are recommended for patients who have or have had any of the following:

  • Chemical burn injury to the eyes

  • Corneal degeneration

  • Keratoconus (a condition characterized by the thinning and bulging of the cornea)

  • Eyelid abnormalities

  • Dry eyes 

  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (a condition that damages skin tissue and mucous membranes)

  • High levels of astigmatism

  • Complications that have occurred as a result of LASIK laser vision correction 

  • Sjogren’s syndrome (an immune disorder that affects the eyes)

  • Corneal ectasia (a condition characterized by the thinning of the corneal tissue)


What are the Benefits of Scleral Lenses?


There are many different benefits associated with the use of scleral lenses. These include:


Greater stability on the eye. Their larger size means that scleral lenses are actually more stable on the eye than conventional contact lenses and are less able to move around. This means that you will have to adjust them far less, and you should also experience a clearer and more stable vision. 


Easier to handle. The larger diameter of scleral lenses makes them easier to handle by patients, both in terms of placing them and removing them. 


Improved comfort. Many patients agree that scleral lenses are more comfortable than many other types of contact lenses. This is due to their gas-permeable nature that allows plenty of oxygen to reach the eyes, keeping them hydrated. 


Great for dry eyes. The space between the back of the lens and the corneal surface acts as a reservoir for the tear film. This helps to counteract dry eye syndrome and makes scleral lenses an ideal choice for patients suffering from this condition. 


Room for corneal abnormalities. The vaulted design of scleral lenses ensures that there is space to accommodate any corneal abnormalities such as the bulging associated with keratoconus, or corneal scarring that is irritated by coming into contact with the back of contact lenses, making them uncomfortable to wear. 



If you would like to find out if you are a good candidate for scleral lenses, contact our office in Fremont, CA to schedule a consultation.