What types of scleral lens are there?
There are three categories of scleral lenses, based on size and where the lenses have their primary contact with the front surface of the eye:
Corneo-scleral lenses and semi-scleral lenses are much larger than conventional GP lenses and rest near the junction between the cornea and the sclera.
Mini-scleral lenses vault over the entire corneal surface and rest on the anterior sclera.
Full scleral lenses are the largest scleral lenses and provide the greatest amount of clearance between the back surface of the lens and the cornea.
Are scleral lenses typically covered by medical or vision insurance?
Scleral lenses are custom-made to the exact specifications prescribed by your eye doctor to provide the best possible vision, eye health and comfort.
For these reasons, professional fees associated with fitting scleral lenses and lens replacement costs are higher for scleral lenses than other contact lenses.
In some cases, if the contacts are considered medically necessary, insurance may cover a portion or even all of the costs associated with scleral lenses
What are scleral contact lenses?
Scleral lenses are large-diameter gas permeable (GP) lenses that can treat a variety of eye conditions which do not respond to any other type of contact lenses. The new generation of scleral lenses being used today are made from a highly oxygen permeable polymer and are unique in that they are fit onto and supported by the sclera (the white portion of the eye). Because these lenses vault over the compromised cornea and fit under the eyelids, they are even more comfortable than traditional RGP’s.
Who is a good candidate for scleral lenses?
Generally, anyone interested in achieving the best vision possible with contact lenses can be a candidate for scleral lenses. But scleral GP lenses are particularly helpful for the following conditions:
Irregular corneas: Vision problems caused by an irregularly shaped cornea, whether naturally occurring from an eye condition such as keratoconus, or resulting from eye surgery are excellent candidates. Scleral lenses typically will provide sharper vision for these eyes.
Hard-to-fit eyes: If your eyes cannot be comfortably fitted with conventional GP lenses or the shape of your eye causes the lenses to dislodge too easily from your eyes, scleral lenses can provide a more comfortable and secure fit.
Dry eyes: If your eyes are too dry for conventional contact lenses, scleral lenses can help. In particular, the generous space between the back surface of full scleral lenses and the cornea acts as a tear reservoir to keep the front of your eye more moist and comfortable.
Option vs corneal surgery: Scleral lenses can replace the need for corneal transplant surgery which has a potential for serious complications, long healing period and uncertain visual outcome.