UC DAVIS (US) — People who have trouble wearing regular contact lenses may have better luck with larger lenses that continuously bathe the eye with saline.
Scleral lenses are a type of gas-permeable lens that are larger than traditional small-diameter contact lenses.
“Scleral lenses provide better vision and comfort than small-diameter gas-permeable contact lenses,” says Melissa Barnett, an optometrist with the UC Davis Eye Center and a co-author of the study.
“In the past three years we have been able to help patients who previously have not been able to see or function with other types of contact lenses or glasses, especially those with corneal irregularities and severe dry eyes,” she adds.
UC Davis researchers reviewed the records of 63 patients fitted with scleral lenses from October 2009 to March 2011. They evaluated a number of factors, including demographic data, diagnosis, previous contact lens wear, surgical history, scleral lens wear, and reasons for discontinuing their use.
The findings are published in the journal Eye & Contact Lens.
“The majority of patients in our study found the scleral lenses to be comfortable and to improve their visual acuity,” says Barnett. “Even patients with corneal scars, who typically cannot wear contact lenses, benefited from scleral lenses.”
Scleral lenses may be helpful for patients with a wide range of conditions, including severe dry eyes, primary and secondary corneal ectasias, post-corneal transplants, corneal scars, and corneal dystrophies or degenerations, she says.