IN NEWPORT NEWS
Dr. Cassis will meet with you to evaluate your vision and lifestyle needs thoroughly. After a comprehensive eye exam or contact lens fitting, we’ll work together with you in our Newport News Eye Care clinic, to figure out the best strategies and contact lenses for your personal requirements. We’ll introduce you to a whole range of of the most up-to-date contact lenses using some amazing technology.
Experiencing any of these symptoms or conditions?
Irregular Cornea | Sjögren’s syndrome | Graft-versus-host disease
Stevens-Johnson syndrome | Astigmatism | Dry eye
We can help! Read below to see how.
What are scleral contact lenses?
Who is a good candidate for scleral lenses?
Effective Treatment for Irregular Corneas
A scleral lens rests like a bridge over the cornea, and not on it. A ring, termed a flange, sits on the white of your eye (the sclera) and gaps between your eye and the contact lens are filled with tears. Corneal scarring or an extremely irregular corneal surface may make it impossible to wear standard contact lenses comfortably and with a good fit. With their extra-large diameter, gas permeable scleral lenses offer a great alternative.
The unique shape of scleral lenses allows them to be used for many hard-to-fit ocular conditions, such as keratoconus, pellucid degeneration and where there is a great deal of corneal scarring. Your sclera tissue is not as sensitive as the cornea, and therefore scleral lenses are usually very comfortable – even when worn on a daily basis.
There are three main types of scleral lenses, with the differences being in size and where the lenses meet your eye’s frontal surface:
- Corneo-scleral lenses – have a wide diameter and rest close to the seam of your sclera and cornea.
- Mini-scleral lenses – span over your entire cornea
- Full scleral lenses – the largest type, creating the greatest clearance space between the contact lens and your cornea.
In general, any individual who wants to optimize their vision with contact lenses can be a suitable candidate for scleral lenses. However, these specialized lenses are most appropriate for people with the following conditions:
- Hard-to-fit eyes: if you can’t be fit well with traditional gas permeable lenses, or lenses tend to pop out of your eye easily, scleral lenses may give you a more secure fit and can help with hard to fit patients.
- Dry eyes: when the tear film that coats your eyes is insufficient, conventional contacts may be uncomfortable or painful. Scleral lenses have a large gap between the contact lens and your cornea, and this space acts as a place for tears to collect. More moisture thereby remains on the surface of your eyes and allows for our Newport News optometrist to use sclera lenses for dry eye patients.
- Irregular corneas: no matter what the cause of your irregularly shaped cornea, scleral lenses will usually give you much clearer vision than eyeglasses or standard contacts.
- Post-corneal surgery: surgeries, such as corneal transplants, often leave you with vision that is not fully normal. Post-surgery scleral lenses offer sharp, comfortable eyesight while simultaneously protecting the delicate eye tissues from any damage to the graft.
An irregular cornea generally causes problems or limitations with vision, and can be more complicated to correct with standard eyeglasses or contact lenses. If eyeglasses and regular contact lenses aren’t helping you see clearly due to an irregular cornea, scleral lenses may be the perfect solution to give you sharp, comfortable vision. Our Newport News eye doctors will evaluate your cornea using first-rate skill and the latest optometric technology. If we find that you are a good candidate for treatment with scleral lenses, we’ll fit you expertly with a pair of these premium, specialized contacts.
A large variety of causes may be responsible for irregular corneas. Some of the most common culprits include:
Prior eye surgeries, such as LASIK or cataracts
Eye injuries or burns
Scarring after an eye infection
Severe cases of dry eye
Pterygium (conjunctival degeneration)
Pellucid marginal degeneration
At N2 Eyes we will evaluate your cornea and recommend the best type of scleral lenses for your eyes.
What are the benefits of a scleral lens vs. a regular contact lens?
What are three key differences in the scleral lens technology?
Candidates for Scleral Lenses Include Patients with:
- Easier to insert and remove.
- Improved, consistent quality of vision all day long.
- Better comfort. Other lenses may dry out and get uncomfortable, especially for people suffering from Dry Eye Syndrome.
- Longer lasting. With proper maintenance, taught by our Newport News optical staff, they can last over a year.
- The lens doesn’t touch the cornea but rests on the sclera or the white part of the eye to increase comfort.
- Microscopic adjustments to the lenses can be made with new advanced manufacturing technology to customize the fit of each lens to each patient’s unique needs.
- Can add highly customized, unique prescriptions onto each lens to provide even better vision.
- High or complicated prescriptions that have been told they can’t wear contact lenses.
- Unsuccessful history with other lenses either due to poor comfort or poor vision.
- Keratoconus or any type of corneal degeneration or dystrophy, transplants, scarring or trauma or post-LASIK complications.
- Dry eyes or high sensitivity to light or Steve Johnson Syndrome.
How safe are scleral lenses?
Is it difficult to care for sclerals?
When are scleral lenses an effective option?
Although this may be the first time you have heard of scleral contact lenses, they aren’t a new invention. In fact, they are the oldest type of contact lenses, invented in the early 16th century by Leonardo da Vinci. However, the first prototypes that were manufactured in Europe were not very permeable to oxygen. As a result, they caused many negative side effects, such as corneal swelling.
Nowadays, modern scleral lenses are designed and crafted with precise technology, new materials and computer-driven lathes. This leads to a higher level of safety and comfort. Contemporary sclerals have a high oxygen permeability, which reduces the risk of eye complications. Patients with keratoconus can have crystal-clear vision along with protection of the sensitive corneal surface.
At the very beginning, it can be tricky to insert scleral contacts. Yet, our optometrists in Newport News, VA provide complete instruction and training. After a short practice period of inserting and removing your lenses, you’ll have no trouble at all! Scleral lenses are very durable and easy to handle.
You must care for scleral lenses in the same way as standard contacts. Right after you remove them, clean and store them with the recommended disinfectant.
Typically, our eye care professionals prescribe scleral lenses typically for patients with keratoconus, corneal dystrophies and degenerations, and in the case of corneal scarring. In addition, they are helpful for people with extreme dry eye syndrome, chronic inflammatory conditions, Sjorgen’s disease and other specific conditions. Many of our patients who try scleral lenses report that they are pleased to finally enjoy sharp and comfortable vision!
Scleral lenses can also be the ideal treatment for people with a vision prescription that exceeds the standard parameters of soft contacts.
Contact our optometrists to schedule a consultation at our optometry practice. We offer expert fittings for scleral lenses and a premium selection of these specialty contacts for hard-to-fit vision conditions.
Expert Training for Scleral Lenses in Newport News and Hampton
Scleral lenses are specialized contact lenses that are often prescribed for patients with keratoconus or extremely sensitive eyes. These rigid gas permeable contacts have a very wide diameter that extends completely over the corneal surface, which makes them comfortable and effective for people with irregular corneas. At the beginning, many of our Newport News and Hampton patients with scleral lenses in find these contact lenses tricky to insert and remove. However, after a short training and practice in caring for your scleral lenses, you’ll find it easy!
Applying Scleral Lenses
- The first rule for healthy eyes with scleral lenses is to wash your hands well with a mild soap. To prevent small fibers from sticking to your contact lenses, dry your hands well with a lint-free towel.
- Before inserting your lenses, inspect your eyes for any redness or secretions. If you notice any irritation or changes in your vision while wearing scleral lenses, call our office to schedule an appointment. Our optometrist will perform an eye exam to check for any complications.
- At N2 Eyes, our eye doctor will instruct you on the best insertion methods for scleral lenses in our clinic. We advise patients to first place a mirror flat on the table in front of them. Remove one lens from its case and check it carefully for any debris or chips. If you hold your scleral lens against light, you’ll be able to spot any cloudy deposits.
- Fill the bowl of the lens with saline. Scleral lenses can be inserted using your fingers or a special inserter tool. If you prefer using your fingers, it is ideal to use two or three fingers (tripod method) to keep the lens stable and flat as you place it in your eye.
- Look downwards towards the mirror. Use one hand to hold your eyelids open, and place the lens in your eye with the other hand. As soon as you feel the saline against your eyeball, press gently and let go. The scleral lens will attach to your eye. Repeat this process with the second lens.
- If your scleral lenses feel uncomfortable, it may be due to an air bubble trapped beneath the lens surface. You may need to remove the lens and insert again.
Removal of Scleral Lenses
There are two basic methods of removing scleral contact lenses: with your fingers, or with the aid of a plunger.
After you wash your hands well, look straight ahead. If you’re using a plunger, wet the tip with saline and attach it to the lower third of the lens. Press gently on your eye, and pull up and out.
If you’re using your fingers, then place two fingertips on either side of the lens and gently break the seal from your eye. In this way you’ll dislodge the lens. Be ready to catch it as it pops out! Although it sounds challenging, don’t worry – after a few times practicing scleral lens removal, it will become natural and simple.
Proper Care of Scleral Lenses
As soon as you remove your contact lenses, clean them to remove debris and protein deposits. Place one lens in the palm of your hand, apply a few drops of cleaning solution and gently rub the lens with your fingertip. Rinse the cleaning solution off with saline and store your scleral lens overnight in its case, covered by a sufficient amount of the appropriate disinfectant. Be sure to use fresh solution each time you store your lenses! Old, used solution is swimming with bacteria and can lead to eye infections. Repeat this process with the other lens.
It’s important to only use the disinfecting solutions that our eye doctor recommends for contact lenses in. Not every solution is suitable for every type of lens, and the wrong disinfectant may harm your scleral lenses.
When your contact lens case is empty, rinse it with disinfecting solution and wipe it out with a clean, dry tissue. Store the case upside-down with the caps off.
Our optometrist will recommend the best wearing schedule for your contact lenses. To ensure your lasting eye health and crisp vision, always follow the instructions provided by your eye care professional! We are experienced with fitting scleral lenses and all types of contact lenses in. Call today to schedule an eye exam.