Practitioners are constantly looking for methods to manage dry eye symptoms in contact lens wearers WITHOUT resorting to full-time wear of glasses. As previously discussed, corneal refractive therapy (CRT) lenses can provide an ideal solution. However, not everyone is a candidate for these lenses. CRT lenses are typically used for low to moderate myopic (nearsighted) prescriptions with mild astigmatism. So, what about the rest of the patients? You guessed it…scleral lenses.
The spotlight has shifted to scleral lenses for the treatment and management of dry eye, as they are becoming a commonly used method to maintain contact lens wear. While soft contact lenses sit directly on the front surface of the eye and disrupt the tear film, scleral lenses vault OVER the cornea. They act as a liquid bandage, creating a reservoir of tears and fluid between the lens and front surface of the eye. This reservoir maintains corneal hydration, and therefore, reduces pain, redness, light sensitivity, and discomfort associated with dry eye.
Additionally, hydrogen peroxide-based solutions are used to disinfect scleral lenses. Dry eye patients often produce more mucous and harbor more tear debris that can accumulate on the surface of contact lenses. Hydrogen peroxide-based solutions ensure the lenses are thoroughly cleaned and do not contain preservatives found in other multi-purpose cleaning solutions that can become trapped on the contact lens and toxic to the anterior surface of the eye.
Scleral lenses can be used to manage symptoms in both forms (evaporative & aqueous deficient) and varying severities of dry eye disease. Patients who wear scleral lenses have reported decreased use of artificial tears, sharper/clearer vision, and improved overall quality-of-life.
You don’t have to choose between using artificial tears incessantly or wearing glasses full-time; you can kick them both to the curb! Get fit for scleral lenses at your next visit!
Aamena Kazmi, OD
The Dry Eye Doctor @ BFEC