Posted onJuly 9, 2019|Comments Off on Scleral Contact Lenses for Keratoconus Treatment
Scleral contact lenses are the keratoconus’ specialists most effective keratoconus treatment.
What is a Scleral Contact Lens?
Scleral contact lenses rest on the sclera, the white part of the eye, and vault over the cornea. Scleral contacts distribute their weight on the less sensitive sclera which makes them much more comfortable than other lenses. The vision with a scleral contact lens is also more stable than the visual acuity experienced with a gas permeable lens. In the video below Dr. Richard Driscoll, the keratoconus specialist at Total Eye Care discusses keratoconus treatment with scleral contact lenses.
Medically Necessary Contact Lenses
Many vision plans consider the treatment of keratoconus with contact lenses as medically necessary and often provide coverage. Some vision plans also call this type of coverage visually necessary contact lenses. Numerous conditions are considered covered under this provision such as:
Dry Eye Syndrome
Pellucid Marginal Degeneration
High Refractive Error (usually about 10.00D of correction)
Post Refractive Surgery
Post Corneal Transplant
Personalized Keratoconus Treatment Consultation
Total Eye Care offers free consultations to help patients decide which keratoconus treatment may be best for them. You can schedule a free keratoconus consultation with Dr. Driscoll by calling us at 817.416.0333. You can also schedule it online at any time.
Keratoconus Treatment Resources
We have curated some resources on keratoconus we feel every patient with keratoconus will find helpful.
November 10 is National Keratoconus Day. Keratoconus is an ocular condition causing debilitating decreased vision in approximately 1 in 400 to 1 in 2000 Americans. Below is a brief overview of keratoconus. For a complete review of keratoconus, including background information, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis can be found here. Spread the word and help someone with keratoconus.
What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus develops when the cornea becomes progressively thinner. The cornea is made of collagen fibers. The collagen fibers in a patient with keratoconus do not have links between the fibers. This causes the collagen to be weak. Over time, the weak collagen fibers allow the cornea to become thin and progressively steeper. This change in shape causes the cornea to take on an irregular shape which is poorly corrected with glasses.
How is Keratoconus Diagnosed?
During a regular eye exam, your eye doctor will be able to tell if you have keratoconus. Corneal topography is usually used to confirm a diagnosis of keratoconus.
How is Keratoconus Treated?
Keratoconus doctors agree contact lens are the treatment of choice. Various types of contact lenses are used to treat keratoconus; however, the best success, comfort, and vision is achieved with scleral contact lenses.
Finding a Keratoconus Doctor
If you have keratoconus or know someone that does have it the Keratoconus Doctors have over 25 years of experience in treating patients with keratoconus and irregular corneas.
The Keratoconus Doctors website is now available. Over the years Total Eye Care has developed a sub-specialty in keratoconus treatment. We now have a website dedicated to those patients.
Free Primer Available – The Patient’s Guide to Keratoconus
We also have a primer on keratoconus, “The Patient’s Guide to Keratoconus“. It answers most of the common questions patients ask and the most important things for them to know. We will continue to update it as technology and standards of care continue to evolve. Some of the items covered are
How is keratoconus treated
What are the risks/benefits of surgery vs contact lenses
What treatment options are available
When is surgery recommended
What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus involves a progressive thinning of the cornea. It is estimated that 1 in 2000 people have keratoconus; however, some estimates are as high as 1 in 500. In most cases, successful keratoconus treatment is accomplished with specially designed contact lenses. At Total Eye Care, we specialize in providing care to these patients.
Scleral lenses have been around for over 100 years. Until the new gas permeable lens materials were developed patients could only wear scleral lenses for a few hours a day. With the highly oxygen permeable lens materials now in use, patients can comfortably wear these lenses all day. Scleral contacts are most commonly used to treat eyes with irregular corneas such as keratoconus and post-surgical eyes (usually following corneal transplant surgery or related to complications from refractive surgery). Another common use for scleral contact lenses is in the special effects industry where they are used to protect the cornea and/or to give the eye an exotic appearance.
What Is A Scleral Lens?
Scleral contacts are large contact lenses that rest on the sclera (white part of the eye) with the remainder of the lens vaulting over the cornea. Tears are trapped between the lens and the cornea allowing scleral contacts to treat irregular corneas. Scleral contact lenses are also used to treat dry eye syndrome by preventing the cornea from drying out. The average soft contact lens has a diameter of about 14 mm whereas scleral contacts typically have a diameter exceeding 14.5 mm. The larger diameter is one of the biggest reasons why scleral contacts are so comfortable.
How Are Scleral Lenses used?
At Total Eye Care, Dr. Driscoll has used scleral contact lenses to treat many conditions such as irregular astigmatism, keratoconus, high myopia, dry eye syndrome, and complications related to LASIK and PRK. Because of their size, sclerals are quite comfortable. Patients often report the comfort being similar to that of a soft contact lens. Most patients with irregular corneas will see better with a scleral lens than with glasses.
Below is a good video that shows how scleral contacts are cared for and how to insert and remove them.
Due to the fact that one of the specialties at Total Eye Care is keratoconus we see many patients with this condition. We recently updated our patient information on keratoconus page to reflect some of the new technologies available to our patients such as;
Mini scleral lenses, which provide excellent vision like that of traditionally fit gas permeable lenses, however with markedly improved comfort.
Corneal collagen cross linking, though not yet FDA approved, is a new technology that I expect will be of a tremendous benefit to our patients.