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Do Scleral Lenses Work for Dry Eyes?  

May 12, 2022

If dry eyes make it all but impossible for you to wear contact lenses, you’re not alone. Many dry eye sufferers have had to switch from contact lenses to  wearing eyeglasses full-time because of uncomfortable dry eye symptoms. 

Fortunately, optometrists have been on the lookout for ways to manage dry eyes without the need for eyeglasses, and at last, a solution is here: scleral contact lenses. Read on as a South San Jose, CA eye doctor talks about scleral lenses, what makes them different, and how they provide dry eye relief.

How Do Dry Eyes Develop?

Your eyes need a certain degree of moisture to feel right and function as they should. To do this, two conditions must be met. First, your eyes have to keep producing tears. Secondly, your tears need to contain a balanced amount of oily lipids, water, and mucus. 

Dry eyes develop when your eyes don’t produce enough tears or when your tears don’t contain a balanced mix of ingredients. When left untreated, dry eyes can cause damage to your cornea, which plays a pivotal role in producing clear vision. Over time, vision starts to decline as corneal damage gets worse. 

What Makes Scleral Contact Lenses Different?

Scleral contacts are rigid gas permeable lenses that have a wider diameter than standard lenses. This extra-wide diameter allows the lens to rest on the white part of the eye instead of on the cornea. The white part is called the sclera, which is how these contacts got their name. 

Since the sclera part of your eye contains fewer nerve endings than the cornea, this feature, alone, makes for a comfortable fit. In fact, many patients find scleral lenses to be the most comfortable lenses they’ve ever worn, even when compared to soft contacts.  

How Do Scleral Lenses Relieve Dry Eyes?

Standard contact lenses sit directly on top of the cornea. This position can interfere with tear production. Scleral lenses vault over top of the cornea, which not only makes for a more comfortable fit but also creates a reservoir for tears between the lens and the cornea. This reservoir-effect helps maintain your eyes’ moisture levels and greatly reduces dry eye symptoms, including redness, pain, inflammation, and light sensitivity. 

One other added benefit of the reservoir created by a scleral lens is the fluid creates a slight pressure that fills in any irregularities in your cornea, creating a perfectly rounded surface. And the smoother and rounder your cornea is the clearer your vision, so you can expect to see much more clearly through scleral contact lenses. 

If you have more questions or would like to schedule a consultation with an eye doctor, feel free to call our South San Jose, CA optometry office today.