Scleral Contact Lenses from Our Phoenix Optometrist/Ophthalmology Team
When you think of adjectives to describe contact lenses, "tiny" may be one of the first words that spring to mind. It's true that modern corneal contacts offer a lot of vision correction in a little package, but sometimes bigger can actually be better in the world of contact lenses. Scleral lenses are oversized contact lenses that do an excellent job of compensating for certain visual challenges, and our Phoenix, AZ, Eye Specialists at Eye Doctors of Arizona provides them for our patients.
An Introduction to Scleral Lenses
Most of the contact lenses worn these days are corneal lenses. Corneal contact lenses are just large enough to cover most of the corneas, which is all the coverage many people need for uncomplicated vision correction. By contrast, scleral contact lenses cover the entire cornea, with their edges actually resting on the sclera (or "white") of the eye. Full-sized scleral lenses may be up to 24 millimeters in diameter, depending on the individual eyes they’re made for. There are also mini-scleral lenses that are just 18 millimeters or less in diameter. You can even get corneo-scleral lenses that are just barely larger than ordinary corneal lenses.
Scleral lenses were the first kind of contact lenses made available to the public. These early models were uncomfortable, but modern scleral contacts have solved that issue. They are made of gas-permeable materials that transfer plenty of oxygen to the eye while remaining rigid enough to maintain their shape. This benefit is crucial for people who suffer from significant corneal irregularities. For example, patients with keratoconus may not benefit from standard corneal contacts because their corneas are deformed due to corneal bulging. Since scleral contacts don't conform to (or even touch) the corneas, they can provide vision correction for misshapen corneas.
Scleral contacts are also a good choice for people with dry eye who find corneal contacts irritating. These lenses can act as a reservoir for the tear film, preserving hydration and preventing evaporation of tears.
Expert Contact Lens Fitting at Eye Doctors of Arizona
At Eye Doctors of Arizona we can tell you whether you're a good candidate for scleral lenses. A comprehensive eye exam and contact lens exam can reveal specific conditions that are best treated through these kinds of lenses. We'll make sure that your scleral lenses are fitted with great precision.
Learn More at Our Phoenix Clinic
Want to learn more about scleral lenses? Call our Phoenix clinic at any of our three offices to talk to our team!