Scleral contact lenses are likely the most versatile lens option Optometrists have at their disposal. A variety of ocular surface conditions can be treated anywhere from severe Dry Eye Syndrome to Keratoconus to Donor Corneas.
A scleral contact lens is based on the idea that the cornea (or clear front part of the eye) remains untouched by the lens which rests on the white of the eye (the sclera). Because the cornea does not touch the lens, we must add fluid to the contact lens to allow for both comfort and vision. The fluid in the lens remains trapped against the cornea meaning that the cornea is bathed in fluid the entire time the patient is wearing the contact lens. Not only does this mean that the cornea remains moist, but also means there are no gaps between the cornea and the lens. In short, this means that the lens is "optically perfect" because all gaps are filled in between the lens. Soft lenses, for example, slide around to wherever they want leaving gaps. If you ever talk to someone who has worn RGPs / "hard contacts" (a bit of a misnomer), they will mention clarity is always better in an RGP, and it's for a similar reason.
The lenses are large, however, and can be a bit tricky to handle. This YouTube video shows how to effectively handle, clean, insert, and remove the scleral contact lenses easily.
Scleral lenses are not for everybody, simply in terms of upkeep. However for those who want the best possible clarity or for those who are unable to achieve satisfactory clarity with soft lenses, scleral lenses may be the best option. Often times, if scleral lenses are indicated for a medical reason, the lenses can be fully covered by either medical insurance or vision discount plans.
If you are interested in improving your vision or in scleral contact lenses in particular, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ryan Hooper in Rocky River, OH by clicking HERE.